I’m just not that into Borat. I wasn’t in 2006 when Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan put Sacha Baron Cohen’s unique brand of political satire on the cinematic map, nor now, 14 years later, with his admittedly timely “sequel”, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan. Fortunately for the British actor and comedian (who I thoroughly enjoyed as Abbie Hoffman in The Trial of the Chicago 7 and “Master of the House” in Les Miserables), he does not need me to like his Borat character. Enough others do. And they will surely lap this up – in all its crude glory. Ironically, I was about to dump out of the movie – until Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani began firing off obnoxious preemptive tweets about Giuliani’s rather embarrassing “cameo” and how the film surely manipulated his actions. So of course I had to keep watching! Sure it’s a set-up, but hey, you reap what you sow. Ick.
The Subsequent Moviefilm continues the real-life adventures of fictional Kazakh television journalist Borat Sagdiyev (i.e. fake news to the satirical extreme) doing what he does best: traveling to the great US&A to make a mockery of totally mockable people and policies. This time, he arrives in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and run-up to the elections. He’s been tasked with delivering a special monkey to Trump, via Vice President Pence, as a gift from his country’s dictatorship. But Borat’s mission takes a turn when he discovers his teenage daughter Tutar (Maria Bakalova ) has stowed away in the monkey’s crate, in hopes of becoming a “sugar baby” like Queen Melania. She will be gifted in place of the monkey!
Borat 2.0 is silly and vulgar and often disgusting, though it does land some relevant zingers relating to racism, extreme conservatism, misogyny, and more. It would almost be funny if it weren’t so true. Thankfully, there is one hero of sorts: a very patient babysitter who tries to teach Tutar to be a strong, independent woman who can make her own decisions. One voice of reason amid a tsunami of tsupid!
I cringed through much of Borat. And under normal circumstances, I would just say skip it (unless already a fan). But extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures. Now I say go ahead and watch it – just to get under Trump and Giuliani’s skin.
Borat Subsequent MovieFilm starts streaming exclusively on Amazon October 23rd.
p.s. If you start thinking that Borat is speaking something very akin to Hebrew, that’s because he is.