Why Borat Subsequent Moviefilm is much more than just crude humor

Last week, everyone’s favorite number four journalist in Kazakhstan returned to America. Amazon released Borat Subsequent Moviefilm on Oct. 23; the film follows the anti-Semitic and racist Kazak journalist Borat Sagdiyev, played by Sasha Baron Cohen, around the country as he aims to deliver a gift to Vice President Mike Pence. What makes the movie so funny (and worrisome) is that most of the scenes are unscripted and involve people who were unaware they were being filmed. This allowed for scenes that are fresh and funny, but also extremely jarring. The goal of the movie is the same as it was for the first film released 14 years ago: show just how hateful Americans can be. WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS.

Baron Cohen didn’t shy away from shocking the audience. In one of the funnier scenes, Borat performs a xenophobic song to a group of people protesting COVID-19 restrictions. After a ridiculous intro that calls former President Barack Obama a traitor, Borat jumps into a resounding chorus of “Obama, what are we gonna do? Inject him with the Wuhan flu. Dr. Fauci, what are we gonna do? Inject him with the Wuhan flu.” Borat then asks the large, far-right-wing crowd what they should sing about next: injecting journalists with COVID-19, or chopping journalists up “like the Saudis do.” A resounding cheer comes from the crowd for the latter, and Borat continues his song much to the delight of the crowd. In this scene, Baron Cohen exposes some of the hateful things a surprisingly large number of Americans believe. 

In another scene, Borat wishes to buy a cake for Pence. When he arrives at a pastry shop and buys the cake, he asks the woman working at the shop to put “Jews will not replace us” on the cake, followed by some smiley faces. The lady, without hesitation, writes the message (which was chanted by marchers at the Charlottesville rally) on the cake and delivers it to Borat. How this lady could hear someone ask for such a hateful message, then write it on the cake without a blink of an eye, is beyond me. But I guess that goes to show you that anti-Semitism is a non-problem for many Americans.

What makes the sequel so memorable is Baron-Cohen’s ability to get famous people involved in his antics. In the first movie, Borat attempts to kidnap actress Pamela Anderson. During the scene, Borat grabs Anderson and carries her off in front of her fans. This was one of the few scenes in either movie that was staged, as Anderson was made aware of what was happening. However, in the second film, public figures were given no such warning, and the results were shocking. A rather jarring scene involving Rudi Giuliani, the former New York Mayor, has made national headlines. In the movie, his willingness to go into a hotel room with a young woman who was “interviewing” him and lay down on the bed has left many people questioning Giuliani’s motives and morals. 

As an American, it is always fun to laugh at the stupidity of other Americans. However, in an election year, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm means a little bit more. Baron Cohen rushed to finish his movie and release it before Election Day. The comedian wanted to show how ridiculous some Americans and the nation’s leaders are before everyone was able to cast their votes. Yes, Baron Cohen over-exaggerated, but I think he did a great job demonstrating how insane the political views of the far-right are.

 Borat Subsequent Moviefilm is not only a great laugh, but it is an important political commentary. The film reveals that perspectives many Americans think are on the far edges of society are growing more mainstream each day. With the election quickly approaching, we must remember this when we vote. Politics are tricky, and I am in no way saying that “mainstream” politicians endorse people with the extreme views that Baron Cohen captured. However, these people do have a voice in politics, and perhaps it’s louder than we originally thought. Borat Subsequent Moviefilm is much more than a comedy, it is a look into the ever-growing darkness that is extremism in America.