Borat strikes again in his new raunchy hit, “Borat Subsequent Moviefilms”


Source: Amazon Studios.

Despite a dark subtext, “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” presents an optimistic vision of America writes managing editor Berk Oto.

Berk Oto, Managing Editor

I was a little over two years old when “Borat” came out and consequently wasn’t introduced to Sacha Baron Cohen’s deft, daring and often raunchy comedy until a little over three years ago. The genius of the first movie partly stems from its timeless portrayal of the stunningly ignorant and less-surprisingly bigotted underbelly of American culture. While “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” incorporates many of the same themes as its iconic predecessor, the movie’s plot tethers itself to the absurdities of our country’s current political and cultural moment, making it especially funny to watch now.

The sequel’s full title is “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan,” and its plot is exactly what it sounds like. After disgracing the image of his once-glorious nation, Borat’s government charges him with the duty of restoring Kazakhstan’s standing in world politics by handing over one of the country’s greatest stars — a porn star monkey — to Vice President Mike Pence. The plan goes horribly wrong at the beginning of the movie once Borat discovers his forgotten daughter Tutar (Maria Bakalova) sneaked into the crate where the monkey was transported and ate the primate on her journey to the United States. Borat adjusts his mission and gives his daughter a visual makeover to gift her to the “vice pussy grabber.”

In the first movie from 2006, Borat travels with drunk fraternity men across the country in their RV. The men share misogynistic ideas about women, and desire to bring back slavery. In that movie, these ideas were only expressed in the privacy of an RV, but in the 2020 sequel similar ideas are horrifyingly public. At the March for Our Rights rally, alt-right protestors eagerly raise their arms in a Nazi salute the moment Borat brings up Germany during his evocative performance. And at a ball that Borat and Tutar attend, a man says he would prostitute Tutar for $500 in front of his daughter.

Cohen also takes aim at the normalization of bigotry, specifically in mainstream contemporary conservative culture. To avoid attention, Borat enters the Conservative Political Action Conference — the most mainstream annual gathering of conservatives — in full Ku Klux Klan robe. The camera cuts to some conference attendees who stare at Borat but none of the hundreds of passersby says a word. Borat is thrown out only after he dresses like President Trump and tries to give his daughter to CPAC speaker Mike Pence in what became a viral scene.
Actors and comedians often talk about how politically incorrect movies like “Tropic Thunder” cannot be made today, but in many ways the opposite is true for this movie. Some scenes from “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” would likely be taboo and too explicitly bigotted to have been made in 2006. This horrifying message about America’s backward cultural trend is often hidden behind carefully-crafted and intelligent punchlines which — combined with the mockumentary format — are almost guaranteed to drive even the most straight-faced viewer to a tear-inducing, belly-aching, roll-on-the-floor kind of laughter.

Actors and comedians often talk about how politically incorrect movies like “Tropic Thunder” cannot be made today, but in many ways the opposite is true for this movie.

Despite a dark subtext, the movie presents an optimistic vision of America. A woman, whose child Tutar is supposed to babysit, takes an entire day to show her that women can drive cars, own businesses and become whatever profession they choose. Although Tutar’s journey to self-empowerment is hilariously short-lived, the interaction shows that some Americans refuse to be complacent in the face of bigotry.
“Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” is culturally relevant right now, but after Trump is no longer President and the coronavirus is gone, it may lose some of its timely appeal. For “Borat” lovers like me, the movie gives one last chance to see our beloved, central Asian, mustached friend. For everyone else, the movie provides well-deserved comedic relief after a year as absurd as 2020.