It’s hard to believe that less than a month ago, even the most well informed amongst us had absolutely no idea that a new Borat movie was even in the making. Since then, Borat 2, or to give its full name, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, quickly became one of the most anticipated films of 2020.
Directed by Jason Woliner, the sequel to Sacha Baron Cohen’s 2006 mockumentary is dedicated to Holocaust survivor Judith Dim Evans who appeared in the film and has sadly passed away since. It is believed that Baron Cohen broke character for the first time to reveal his true identity to Dim Evans after they had finished filming a section about antisemitism. Still, the woman’s family has now brought in a law-suit against Baron Cohen and the film’s distributor Amazon Prime for the use of her likeness without permission.
Having brought shame on his country of Kazakhstan after inadvertently becoming an international laughing stock, Borat (Baron Cohen) has spent the last 14 years serving a life sentence with hard labour in a state prison. One day, the disgraced reporter is summoned by the country’s leader and charged with a new mission. He is to return to America and restore the nation’s pride by presenting Vice President Mike Pence with the gift of a monkey in the hope of building a strong relationship with president Donald Trump.
Arriving in the US, Borat soon realises that his mission might not be that simple. Things gets slightly more complicated when in lieu of the monkey he had been expecting, Borat has been burdened with his stowaway teenage daughter Tutar (Marina Bakalova) who dreams of becoming the new Melania. Still when life gives you lemons, you make sure your daughter can make a good alternative prize for Mike Pence or any other political audience.
Having become such an iconic comedy figure since his last outing as Borat, things are slightly more complicated for Baron Cohen this time around when it comes to tricking people to believing he is who he says he is. The comedian gets around this problem by introducing a series of disguises for Borat and the result is one of the best and funniest films of the year.
At times, there is a sense that some of his subjects could almost be in on the joke, but on closer inspection it becomes clear that people will in fact say anything if there’s a camera crew around to capture it. There are some jaw-dripping moments, notably the time spent by Borat with a branch of QAnon, a group of far right conspiracy theorists who believe that the Clintons are heading an underground organisation which preys on children.
Away from the usual political fodder and clever far right baiting we’ve come to expect from him, Baron Cohen’s film also contains a strong feminist message thanks to the introduction of the brilliant newcomer Marina Bakalova.
Borat Subsequent Moviefilm doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to exposing America’s enduring racism and anti-Semitism. Ending on a plea of “NOW VOTE”, this couldn’t have come at a better time to expose what is really at stake in the upcoming presidential election. This is a genuinely funny, cringe-inducing and to coin a sometimes overused phrase of late, exactly what we all need right now.