After the events of his first film in 2006, Borat (Sacha Baron Cohen) returned home and was immediately sentenced to life in a labor camp for the embarrassment he brought upon Kazakhstan. Now, after learning that American had a new President who had Made America Great Again, the leaders of Kazakhstan have a special mission for Borat. The Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan. Will one of the most ignorant reporters on the face of the Earth succeed? Will his polite bigotry reveal both the best and worst of Americans? Will a prominent politician lay down on a bed and shove his hand down his pants in the company of a young female reporter? In a Borat film, anything is possible.
A lot has changed in the past 14 years and Borat is no exception. In early clips, he is quickly recognized by others on the street. Because of this, Borat wears a disguise through most of the film, usually with the help of a padded fat suit. Also gone is his producer Azamat (Ken Davitian) who was executed for his prior documentary. Instead, like so many other sequels these days, Borat is accompanied by his “non-male son”, 15-year old daughter Tutar (Maria Bakalova). The choice to include a protagonist’s progeny doesn’t always work as intended, but Bakalova‘s performance threatens to upstage Cohen‘s! Tutar’s idea of happiness has been based on two things. A daughter owner’s manual filled with repressive rules and lies, and a Disney-esque animated movie about Melania and her marriage to Trump. Tutar dreams of one day being owned by another man and living in a gilded “wife cage.”
Their primary goal is thwarted halfway through the film when they are ejected from the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in February. As they look for another politician to gift Tutar to, she begins to learn how free women are in American. Eventually, it all comes down to either Tutar is successful in seducing Rudy Guiliani, or Borat will be executed when he returns home. What’s a girl to do?
Like the first film, the “charm” of Borat is that he is able to disarm average Americans and get them to open up about how they really feel on various topics. It’s shocking what people will admit to on camera! His cheerful bigotry somehow puts others at ease, whether they agree with him or not. A truly touching scene is when he enters a synagogue dressed as his concept of what a stereotypical Jew looks like, and an 88-year-old Holocaust survivor approaches him. She calmly and politely tries to educate him on Jews, and eventually, they share a hug. It’s a great counterpoint to the negativity and hate others project.
There will always be controversy swirling around Borat and his films. Often people have no idea how they are seen by others until they see themselves from the outside. Hopefully they, and others, can learn from it and grow. During a time when world events have left us wanting to cry, yell, and scream, Borat gives us another option, laughter. It is the best medicine, after all.
- Borat Subsequent Moviefilm