Entertainment Today and Beyond

Never Met a Zombi I Didn’t Like…

Bruno- Offensive YES, but still extremely Funny stuff!

bruno-1I must say that Bruno is one the most interesting experiences I’ve ever had at the movies. While I was buckled over from laughing I couldn’t help but wonder how far Sacha Baron Cohen will go to get a laugh and whether comedians have pushed boundaries so far that there’s no more elasticity left to stretch. There’s no doubt in my mind that Sacha Baron Cohen is a truly fascinating and unique comic talent; a method actor who never cracks a smile and has the amazing ability to stay in character no matter how absurd the situation. The man might be the funniest and most comedically creative person on the planet right now.

Now having said all that, it felt strange that at least 10% of the paying audience I saw the film with on a Saturday night got up and walked out before the film’s halfway point. Clearly they were highly offended. Yet I sat in my seat and laughed so hard I thought I would hurt myself. Like his previous hit Borat, Bruno hinges on interviews with people who don’t know that the flamboyant ultra gay Bruno is not a real person.

 Some of his subjects in this film are so clueless, pathetic and make such fools of themselves that it’s hard not to believe they were in on the act. Bruno is a character Cohen created for his sketch comedy but, unlike Borat who is a foreign television commentator, Bruno is a gay Austrian fashion reporter who loses his job and comes to America looking to become famous just about anyway he can.

At a running time of just 82 minutes the film bounces from one scene to the next and I can honestly say they all work. The film is briskly paced without a dead spot to be found.

What Borat showed for race issues in America, Bruno does for sexuality – at least to some extent. The difference between the two characters is Borat was looked at as a likeable foreigner while Bruno is so flamboyant that the people he comes in contact with aren’t exactly comfortable with him. I have to admit I didn’t look at this film for social commentary (although there is some) I just wanted to laugh and I certainly did. Bruno is an even funnier film than Borat, and that’s saying a lot.

The setups here include: an interview with Paula Abdul, who has no problem sitting on the backs of Hispanic men who are used as makeshift furniture, and; Bruno and his agent sitting at a focus group meeting watching his pilot for a celebrity interview show with the promise of a Harrison Ford interview. This scene includes an extended sequence of Bruno’s penis (it even talks) that pushes the boundaries of anything ever seen in even an R-rated film. Except for a Ron Jeremy movie I can’t imagine full frontal male nudity being more prevalent. It was at this point that some of the walkouts started.

Other highlights include: an interview with a high ranking terrorist; an uncomfortable hotel room interview with Senator Ron Paul; a stunningly hilarious interview segment with parents who are trying to get their kids into commercials (a mother agrees that she will have her 30 pound little girl lose 10 pounds in a week if she gets the job), and; a very funny encounter at a swingers party. The true show stopper involves a mock talk show with former TV host Richard Bey and an audience of outraged African Americans as they question Bruno on the adoption of his African boy. The still shots of Bruno and the boy are priceless, especially the one where the kid is strapped to a cross.

The final scene involving Bruno and another man stripping each other and making out in the ring at an MMA event is also hilarious. While the film is outrageous, offensive and had me uncomfortable at times (the mili vanili psychic bit was pushing it big-time), what can I say other than I laughed throughout. I found Bruno incredibly funny. While I’m fully aware that this type of material will offend, and in some cases disgust, it made me laugh as hard as I’ve ever laughed in a movie theater. So for me Bruno gets 4.5 out of 5 Zombies. Whether this is the start of the fall of western civilization is a discussion for another day – I’ll keep an open mind.

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July 12, 2009 - Posted by | Reviews | ,

1 Comment »

  1. Giving away a few spoilers, huh Chuck? I just got out of the theater to see this an hour ago. I think there are some very funny moments, particularly the opening scene IMO. I think overall the movie is a worthy successor to Borat, though not quite as funny overall, but rather more “shocking.” I understand why people walked out, but I appreciate the effort that SBC gives here. I would give it a 3/4 I think.
    The Rake
    http://thefilmnest.com

    Comment by thebsk | July 14, 2009 | Reply


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