In 2006, Borat: Cultural Learnings shocked American audiences with its explicit humor and raw footage of America's worst sides. Some notable scenes include a naked hotel fight, an interview with racist frat bros, an Islamaphobic rodeo anthem and much more. If you haven't watched it, I give it my highest recommendation.
Now, Sacha Baron Cohen is back, with a sequel that's even more outrageous than the first.The plot of Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan centers around Borat's journey to give his daughter away as a gift to Donald Trump's closest confidantes, Mike Pence and later Rudy Guliani. Along the way, he makes a fool out of nearly everyone he encounters, from everyday American to top political figure.
Borat 2 arrives at one of the most turmoiled times in recent American history, as tensions across the political spectrum over issues of grave national importance boil over. And Borat, our ridiculous cartoon of a character, refuses to shy away from any of those same issues. He explores QAnon, Southern debutante culture, abortion, and much more. Each scene is more ridiculous than the last, and Cohen waters nothing down. One of the most unfortunate scenes of the movie was the one filmed at the March for our Rights Rally, where a whole crowd of attendees is fooled into singing along with Borat's racist, anti-science song, including lines like "inject [Obama] with the Wuhan Flu". This is arguably not even the most shocking scene of the movie, which is packed with examples of bigotry. If Cohen can trick a whole crowd of Americans into happily carrying a racist, anti-science, anti-media song, what else has America been fooled into, by perhaps more nefarious sources? It's scary to see how easily Americans are tricked into revealing their racist, mysoginistic, and homophobic tendencies. Or it would be, if it weren't so funny. The joke is on us, and we don't even know it.
Borat 2 does not disappoint, pulling of the same outrageous brand of humor that made the first movie so successful. That said, Borat 2 does come with a much clearer political message than the first Borat movie did. It's a clear condemnation of Donald Trump and his America, and its premier date, so soon before the election, points to a clear political purpose to mock and criticize certain prominent leaders. Whether that's a good thing or not is up to each individual watcher to decide.
Regardless, Sacha Baron Cohen is undoubtedly fantastic at what he does. In his many characters, not just Borat, he's gotten everyday Americans to display their worst qualities. He's fooled Rudy Giuliani into what seems to be a compromising position with a young female journalist. He got Dick Cheney to sign a waterboarding kit. And perhaps most notably, Republican Georgia State Representative Jason Spencer was (quite easily) goaded into pulling his pants down and shouting racist slurs on live television.
Perhaps the funniest joke of all to those who sympathize with Cohen's criticisms of our elected leaders is the fact that Borat has managed to hoodwink the very officials his extreme views mock. Mike Pence will undoubtedly watch at least his own scene in Borat 2. It's likely that Donald Trump will be given a briefing on Borat 2. Rudy Giuliani is facing nationwide ridicule, because of Borat 2. For this reason, I think Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan deftly surpasses the high bar set by its predecessor. Borat will live on in our jokes, our minds, and now, our politics. Thank you, Sacha Baron Cohen, for the hilarious look into the "U S and A!"