Sacha Baron Cohen's 2006 film “Borat: Cultural Learnings for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan,” a film which depicts fictional Kazakhstani journalist Borat Sagdiyev’s visit to America on a quest to film a documentary has become somewhat of a cult classic due to its hilarious political incorrectness, spontaneity and cultural insight.
The real-life nation of Kazakhstan, however, was less pleased with its depiction in the film, denouncing Baron Cohen and Borat. This led the actor to retire the character in 2007.
Last month, however, it was announced that Borat would be returning for a second film, this time focusing on the “US and A” in the time of President “McDonald Trump.” In the “Subsequent Moviefilm,” Borat is tasked with delivering a gift to a high-ranking government official in order to bring Kazakhstan into Donald Trump’s “Strongman Club” of dictators. Because Borat defecated in front of a Trump Hotel in the original, it was decided that he should give the gift to Vice President Pence instead of Trump himself.
Borat 2 has already generated much controversy. One scene appears to show President Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani touching himself inappropriately while alone in a hotel room with a young reporter. Baron Cohen also made an appearance at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in February dressed as the President with a woman slung over his shoulder, offering her to the Vice President (who was speaking at the time).
In terms of comedy, does the new film hold up to the original? Although both films center around the same character, they are very different films.
For instance, there is no naked wrestling scene in a hotel as occurred in the first movie. Nor does Borat make a nation-wide tour in an ice cream truck with a black bear in tow. Pamela Anderson is not stuffed into a sack at a signing and carried off to be Borat’s new wife.
What Borat 2 excels in, however, is showing what people say and do when they think they are alone, even if they are surrounded by cameras.
There’s the Giuliani scene, which the lawyer has denied as nothing but a witch hunt designed to discredit his claims about Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter. Then there are the QAnon believers who claim that Democrats are more dangerous than COVID-19, and that they weren’t legally allowed to “do what [they] want to them” because “they have the same rights.”
There was even the propane seller who when asked “which tank would kill the most Gypsies (properly called the “Romani”)?” answered “you want the bigger tank” without skipping a beat.
The social commentary of Borat 2 is more direct and center stage than in the original. An ending scene depicts the “Running of the American,” a parody of the Spanish tradition featuring a hick Trump supporter and an angry Karen – both maskless – who sneeze on runners and murder an Anthony Fauci effigy.
The reactions to Borat by others are also more noteworthy in the Subsequent Moviefilm. Vice President Pence, for example, was visibly livid when he saw Baron Cohen appear at CPAC. His supporters were as well, as they began shouting “Four More Years!” as Baron Cohen was dragged out of the room by security.
All in all, the Borat universe gained a wonderful addition in the Subsequent Moviefilm, one which doubles down on the themes of “cultural learnings” of the “US and A” from the original. The film definitely fits the “very nice, I like” quote that so many people remember from Borat 1. Definitely worth watching.