Borat Subsequent Moviefilm is the 2020 mockumentary comedy sequel to the raunchy original of 2006. The film is directed by Jason Woliner. Sacha Baron Cohen reprises his role of the sincerely offensive and politically incorrect Kazakh journalist, Borat Sagdiyev. The film also stars Maria Bakalova as Borat’s daughter Tutar. The central premise of this mockumentary is that Borat is going to offer Tutar to the vice president Mike Pence during the COVID-19 pandemic and the 2020 presidential election. Borat Subsequent Moviefilm is the sequel to the 2006’s Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan. The film follows the same mockumentary style with interactions with people plus some scripted gags. Also, Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson star in the film as themselves.
In 2007, Cohen had said that he won’t be reprising his Borat character anymore. However, during 2019, he was spotted donning the character in public. And thus, the speculations ran abound. The speculations were confirmed in September of 2020 when it was announced that Amazon Studios would be acquiring the distribution rights to the sequel. It was eventually released on October 23, 2020, on Amazon’s Prime Video. The critical reception to the film has been very positive, with critics applauding the brave comedy of Borat. Cohen’s and Bakalova’s performances have received major praise by the critics and the audience alike. It’s a commentary on the American socio-political landscape and contemporary culture. Borat 2 also bagged 3 nominations at the 78th Golden Globes Awards, winning two of them.
The film picks up after 14 years from the events of the prequel. Borat had been imprisoned and sent to a gulag and work for 24 years for bringing shame to his country. Now he has been finally released by his country’s premier Nursultan Nazarbayev. He’s been released with a mission for his country’s redemption. And for that, he has to gift the minister of culture, Johnny the Monkey, to Donald Trump. But Borat had tried and failed to get in touch with Trump in the previous film, even after defecating in his hotel. Therefore, he decides to gift the monkey to vice president Mike Pence instead. But before he heads off to America, he encounters some revelations. He discovers that his family and home have been stolen from him by his long-time nemesis neighbor, Nursultan Tulyakbay. And that he has a 15-year-old daughter, Tutar, who lives in the barn.
Borat takes up a cargo ship and eventually reaches Galveston, Texas. But he is shocked to find that he has become a celebrity there. He wants to keep a low profile to carry out his mission. To do that, he goes shopping in multiple disguises. He also buys a phone and then heads off to welcome Johnny. That’s when he discovers that Tutar has eaten Johnny. Not knowing what to do after this horrifying development, he faxes Nazarbayev to ask what to do. Nazarbayev tells him to come up with another way to satisfy Mike Pence, or he will be met with execution. Borat comes up with a solution and decides to offer his daughter Tutar to Pence in place of the monkey.
The Makeover, Realization, and Falling Out
Afterward, Borat gets Tutar a makeover and takes her to a debutante ball. During the father and daughter dance at the ball, Tutar’s menstrual blood is noticeably visible. Later, Borat finds out that Mike Pence is currently at CPAC, which is in proximity to the ball. He puts on a disguise of Trump and goes to offer Tutar to Pence. However, he is spotted and thrown out by the security. When Nazarbayev finds this out, he gets furious and tells him to return to Kazakhstan, where he will be executed. But Borat is hit with an epiphany — he can still offer Tutar to someone close to Trump. That’s when Tutar recommends giving herself to Rudy Guiliani.
Knowing how Guliani had boasted about having a fling with a big-breasted woman in the past, Borat follows up. He takes Tutar to a cosmetic surgeon, where we see another uncomfortable and hilarious exchange. The surgeon advises them to get breast implants. But those are expensive, so he gets working. He leaves Tutar with a babysitter while he works at a barbershop to earn money for implants. The babysitter is an innocent and benevolent woman who is perplexed and concerned about Tutar. We see how she tells her not to follow her father’s sexist teachings. Afterward, Tutar comes across a woman driving a car (a first for her). She also masturbates for the very first time. After these firsts for her, she lambasts Borat for oppressing her for her entire life. She rejects getting the implants and then storms out.
Quarantine and QAnon
Before leaving, though, she exclaims that the Holocaust is a lie — something she learned on a Holocaust denial Facebook page. Borat is broken after this and decides to commit suicide. He goes to a synagogue, dressed in a stereotypical Jew getup, waiting for the next shooting. That’s when he is astonished, finding Holocaust survivors. They treat him with kindness and teach him about the Holocaust. They reassure him that Holocaust happened, and for an anti-semite like him, that’s a delight. He is now happy and goes to look for Tutar. But, he finds that all the streets are empty now — thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. He finds two QAnon conspiracy theorists and quarantines together. They offer to help him find his daughter. They find her online and discover that she has become a reporter. Tutar is going to report on a March for Our Rights rally in Washington.
The conspiracy guys arrive at the rally and try to convince Tutar to help her dad. They tell her that he will be executed if she doesn’t help him. Tutar agrees to help and fixes an interview to seduce Guliani. Although, she will be doing this without her father’s help or participation. Borat then talks with her babysitter and goes through a change of heart. He realizes that he loves her daughter. After a post-interview disturbingly creepy move by Guiliani on Tutar, Borat intervenes. He offers himself to him instead of his daughter. Afterward, Borat is ready to face execution and heads off to Kazakhstan. Tutar tags along.
Turning a New Leaf
Upon returning, Borat is shocked to discover that he will not face execution. He learns that Nazarbayev used him as revenge for the shame he brought to Kazakhstan. It is revealed that before Borat was sent off to the United States, he was infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus. As he went around the world before arriving in America, he spread the virus everywhere, being the patient zero. While Nazarbayev is revealing all of this, Borat secretly records him. Borat and Tutar then blackmail him, demanding he gives Borat’s job back and also change Kazakhstan’s misogynistic laws.
Several months later, Borat and Tutar are now a reporting team. The previous anti-semitic tradition of Kazakhstan — the Running of the Jew — is now discarded and replaced by Running of the American. This new tradition consists of the caricatures of Trump supporters instead of previous anti-semitic Jewish caricatures. The film ends with a message that encourages the audience to go and vote in the upcoming presidential election of 2020.
Borat Subsequent Moviefilm is a Worthy Sequel That Resonates and Reflects
Borat Subsequent Moviefilm is not only a great sequel but one that lives up to the relevance of the first one. Whereas the first one revealed and commented on American culture at large, this one largely focuses on American politics. Borat’s comical real-life absurd exchanges with The American people continue. And as the unsuspecting people open up, they are oblivious to the fact that the joke is not this caricaturish Kazakh man but themselves. The film does a great job at showing just how ludicrous and backward the American socio-political landscape has become. It takes many shots at the Trump administration.
Borat 2 also plays on several events relevant to the current time. Borat turns out to be the patient zero of Covid-19. One of Borat’s sons is named Jeffery Epstein, and the new Running of the American tradition features effigies of Fauci. Along with the concurrent political commentary, the film is also commenting on long persisting issues of society. The interactions with different people from different professions offer way more than just laughs. They also showcase just how normal the absurdity of it all is to the people. And the movie is saying that the people of a country like America are very close to the caricatures of Kazakhstan. The ironic caricature of a third-world man exposes just how many similarities the people of the modern world share with the sexist, racist, anti-semitic, sexist, and conspiratorial people of a made-up world.
Rating — 4.5/5.
Borat Subsequent Moviefilm is currently streaming on Prime Video.