You may be familiar with the cult classic Borat, released in 2006. But on October 23, 2020, a sequel titled Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan was released exclusively on Amazon Prime. Sacha Baron Cohen reprises his role as the titular Borat, with actress Maria Bakalova premiering as his 15-year-old daughter, Tutar. Borat Subsequent Moviefilm builds upon the foundations of the first film, ramping up the cringey humor and political satire that made the original so memorable. In some ways, the new film surpasses its predecessor.
In the sequel, Borat is freed from prison to deliver a famous chimpanzee from the fictional version of Kazakhstan to be delivered to Mike Pence as a last-ditch attempt to restore the nation’s former glory, as the long title implies. However, plans go awry as Tutar arrives instead of the monkey, in which Borat concocts an idea to deliver her to Pence instead. What ensues are hilarious pranks on unsuspecting people throughout the United States. As a meta in-joke, Borat needs to wear disguises, since people recognize who he is from the previous movie. The disguises enhance the jokes, as he dresses in comical outfits throughout the film.
If you thought the rodeo scene from the original was outrageous, then imagine seeing the character dressed as Donald Trump to deliver his daughter to Pence at a CPAC conference, as seen in the trailer. The stunt was also in the local news when the conference was filmed in February 2020. That scene will forever remind viewers of the way COVID-19 has been handled in the United States, as Pence ironically announces, “as the President said yesterday, we’re ready. We’re ready for anything.” With the coronavirus claiming 439,521 lives in the country at the time of this review, the scene serves an importance that will likely be looked back on for decades to come.
Besides Pence, Borat and Tutar come across many other interesting characters, from QAnon conspiracy theorists to Rudy Giuliani (who had no idea he was in a Borat film). Although many may have heard of the scene that the latter was in, it truly needs to be seen to be believed. The victims of their pranks serve a much greater role in the story this time around, often contributing to the character’s development in the story in a grand way, despite not knowing the movie they’re really in.
While the plot of the original film was rather thin, the plot of the sequel offers a much more streamlined and focused narrative, with character development that was never present in the previous one. Aside from all the jokes, Borat and Tutar are cleverly written, and serve as perfect foils to one another; the two also share an incredibly believable chemistry as father and daughter. Tutar certainly steals the show, as she embarks on a journey of self-discovery in a way seldom seen in comedy movies. It seems that only Bakalova could be daring enough to keep up with Cohen’s antics, which is no small feat, seeing as the pranks in this one are the most dangerous and elaborate ones he’s done in his career so far.
Borat Subsequent Moviefilm is the 2020 film that audiences needed, exposing the political tensions and racism that was rampant during the Trump administration (which has not disappeared under President Biden), while also entertaining viewers with the laughably awkward humor Borat is known for. As a satire, the movie does a tremendous job at showcasing how ugly America can be at times. However, the movie does take the time to humanize the characters too, as a few of them are good-natured but misguided by the information they find online, leading them down a dark path. Those characters are a reflection of how social media can twist a person’s biases by exposing them to misleading information, leading to a massive cognitive dissonance that is growing day by day.
Although there have been no talks of future installments for the franchise, this film is powerful enough on its own without another sequel. While the original Borat was a relic of American society during the Bush administration and Iraq war, Subsequent Moviefilm is a time capsule of the Trump administration, which arguably caused the country to become even more divided than in the past. Like a time capsule, future generations will stumble across this film and gasp at the (hopefully bygone) era captured in it, while laughing hysterically throughout at the same time.