Rated R; Directed by Larry Charles; Starring Sacha Baron Cohen, Gustaf Hammarsten
Sacha Baron Cohen created an amazing movie event with Borat, with its hilarious unscripted scenes full of unsuspecting strangers who find themselves mixed up in Cohen’s movie. The same set up occurs in Cohen’s newest film, Bruno. Bruno isn’t as hilarious at Borat, but, of f course, not many movies can ever achieve that hilarity.
In Bruno Cohen plays one of his stock characters, Bruno, an Austrian host of a fashion show called Fashionzeit. After Bruno causes a disaster at a fashion show due to his Velcro suit, he loses his job and his lover. At this low point he decides that the only thing to do is head to America to become a celebrity. And that’s where the fun begins.
Some of the scenes of Bruno searching for the correct route to celebrityhood bring laughs. It is so easy to pick fun of the celebrity culture in our country and Cohen uses Bruno to highlight the craziness. Following the path of Madonna and Angelina Jolie, Bruno even adopts an African baby. It’s moments like these that make you laugh.
Unfortunately, Bruno offers several scenes that just leave you uncomfortable. These usually involve Cohen’s willingness to use Bruno’s sexuality to ridiculous extremes. An attempted seduction of 2008 presidential candidate Ron Paul creates an awkward moment. Bruno’s attempt to get overly friendly with some hunters is more distasteful than funny. In fact, most of the jokes about Bruno’s homosexuality are obvious and overdone. In a desire to show the homophobia of many Americans, the movie basically uses all kinds of homophobic tactics. Really, how many anal-sex jokes does one movie need?
The movie certainly deserves its R rating. Please, do not bring your children! Bruno relies on lots of sexual situations with a good dose of nudity. Some of the nudity is funny (a scene from Bruno’s TV pilot with the camera aimed directly at a penis is especially silly), but some is surprising – how did this movie earn only an R rating?
Bruno is funny at times, but do not expect a gut-busting outing. Bruno provides cynical laughs, but the silly sweetness of Borat is gone. It’s also not a movie for everyone. If you are easily offended, please stay away. The nice thing is that Bruno can offend everyone – there is no discriminating in its targets. Nothing is sacred here.