By Dave Campbell | July 10, 2009
Director: Larry Charles
Writer(s): Sacha Baron Cohen, Anthony Hines, Dan Mazer, Jeff Schaffer (screenplay) Sacha Baron Cohen, Peter Baynham, Anthony Hines, Dan Mazer (story) Sacha Baron Cohen (character)
Starring: Sacha Baron Cohen
In Brüno the followup to Borat, Sacha Baron Cohen brings us another ambush style film based on one of his brilliant characters originally from the Paramount Comedy Channel (UK) & the Ali G show (HBO). Brüno, who has no known surname and refers to himself in the third person, is the gay fashionista host of Funkyzeit on Austrian TV. Brüno is kicked off the show after crashing onto the catwalk at a fashion show during Milan Fashion week. Now at rock bottom, he travels to the United States with his assistant’s assistant Lutz to become famous.
Dead set on becoming a star, Brüno takes many different paths at reaching his goal. He shoots a pilot for a celebrity interview show, boasting stars such as Harrison Ford and Paula Abdul. He sets up an interview with presidential candidate Ron Paul that leads to an angered Paul yelling “queer” as he retreats. He meets with dingbat PR consultants to select a world problem to get behind. He journeys to Jerusalem to help solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He tries to get kidnapped by the actual leader of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades terrorist organization by saying “King Osama looks like a dirty wizard or a homeless version of Santa Claus”. Brüno even acquires an African baby and names him O.J., to follow in the footsteps of Madonna and Angelina Jolie…and the list goes on.
Brüno, might possibly be a more hilariously uncomfortable film than Borat. With Borat, Cohan shined a light on the ignorant, racist, and sexist demons of America, and with Brüno he uses extreme stereotypes of homosexuality to show the true absurdities of homophobia, ignorance, and intolerance raging in our country. Brüno is funniest in its most politically incorrect moments where levels of personal comfort are pushed to the limits. The film is also a montage of extreme sex practices which are at times partially covered by a black dot or bar which include: waving penises, sex toys, fetish gear, anal bleaching, and a visit to a psychic where Brüno shares a mimed sexual moment with the ghost of his deceased “ex-boyfriend” Rob Pilatus who was a member of the pop group Milli Vanilli.
If you are looking for pure satire, you’ve come to the wrong place. There is questionable taste in some of the things done in this movie, but they are all for the reaction in this human experiment of a comedy. Sacha Baron Cohen always seems to have a clear vision of where he is taking the character even as he improvs and plays off of each targeted victim or unexpected bystander. Brüno concludes it’s scandalously funny romp as a glorious triumph with Cohen never making excuses or asking for forgiveness as he executes what he does best.
At the end of the day, what Brüno (Cohen) said at the London premiere might be true…”This is the most important movie starring a gay Austrian since Terminator 2.”