Sacha Baron Cohen
Sacha Baron Cohen and director Larry Charles sure don’t make it easy on us. The storyline and prank-style formula used here are nearly identical to what they gave us in Borat. Both films feature a lead character that happens to be a TV personality from a foreign country. In both films our hero travels to America with a wacky assistant and cameraman in tow. Hell, both lead characters have a five-letter name that starts with a B (ok maybe I’m nitpicking). And while Bruno succeeds just like Borat before him in duping countless unsuspecting, ignorant Americans (and celebrities), this time around it lacks that certain freshness that made Borat so revolutionary.
The character of Bruno- a flamboyantly gay, in-your-face, Austrian fashionista (fashionisto?) with a penchant for freaky sex, is certainly too over-the-top to be taken seriously, and that might be where Bruno fell flat with audiences. The beauty of Borat was the character’s innocence and likeability. The fact that he was from Kazakhstan, and exposed the ignorance and racism of the Americans he featured, and how easily he got Americans to agree with his ridiculously sexist and anti-semitic views.
Bruno on the other hand repulses the subjects he meets, and his flamboyant homosexuality is so extreme that it makes even the most tolerant and well-meaning people uncomfortable, and hence, it’s difficult for him to make any kind of valid social commentary.
But hey, the filmmakers didn't set out to make Schindler’s List- it’s a friggin’ comedy, and an absolutely hilarious one at that. When I saw it in theaters for the first time, I laughed so hard that I cried…three times. Bruno finds his way into some truly awkward situations- hangin’ with a couple rednecks on a hunting trip, appearing with his ‘purchased’ black son on a Texas talk show, and trying to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are only a splash of the insane scenarios Baron Cohen has the balls to get himself into- oh, and speaking of balls, hope ya don’t mind a close-up or two. Trust me, you gotta see this.
Interview with Lloyd Robertson (5:32) - Bruno’s agent from the film is interviewed after the cat has been let out of the bag and explains the story of how he got duped into participating in the film. He maintains a great attitude about the whole experience.
Enhanced Commentary with Larry Charles and Sasha Baron Cohen: I’m usually not a fan of commentaries, but this was one track I wanted to hear/see. The enhanced aspect refers to the fact that Larry and Sasha are occasionally seen in a picture-in-picture function, and also have the ability to pause the movie to discuss stories (which are friggin’ awesome). If you’re curious as to how these guys pulled off some of these amazing pranks (most of which actually are very real), you have to check out this track.
The Blu-Ray also comes with a Digital Copy which will be a most welcome companion on my travels.