PLOT: Bruno is a gay Austrian fashion model who caused quite a stir by bringing a %100 Velcro suit to an event and making a lot of people angry. He is humiliated and to makes matters worse, he is dumped by his assistant/boyfriend. He then decides to head to the United States to become a celebrity any way he can. And with his assistant Lutz, he arrives and pisses a number of people off. Once again, Sacha Baron Cohen shocks and offends as well as he possibly can, with hilarious results.
Sacha Baron Cohen is a master at creating some pretty vivid characters. With BORAT, he shocked audiences with a gleefully offensive piece where he stuns an entire roomful of conventioneers. Sure, it isn’t that hard to do this when you are completely nude and wrestling another naked man (a very large man at that). It would be hard to imagine anything more outrageous than that. Unless of course you’ve seen his latest, BRUNO. Sacha’s Bruno is a gay Austrian model wannabe who finds himself on a quest to become a celebrity in the US of A. He once again takes on all hate including racism, homophobia and everything else you can imagine as a nineteen (?) year-old Bruno comes to town with not an ounce of tact. He is self-indulgent, delusional and completely unaware of how his actions might affect others. This is a perfect character for Cohen as he relentlessly takes on Bruno, there is not a single ounce of “skit” here. You certainly won’t catch him breaking character.
Here is the tricky part, what can I tell you about the experiences of this openly gay young man searching for fame any way he can get it? For starters, let’s talk about LaToya Jackson. When Bruno arrives to the States and manages to set up an interview show to chat with celebrities, he is able to get her to come along. Now this scene may not be in the theatrical print, simply out of respect to the Jackson family in regards to their loss, but it is not nearly as offensive as you would think. Yet it is pretty funny. As he interviews LaToya, he notices her iPhone and asks to see it. She hands it to him and he proceeds to search for another famous Jackson. He then blurts out the number to his assistant Lutz (Gustaf Hammarsten) in his native tongue. The other Ms. Jackson realizes quickly what is going on and calls the interview off. This is a very amusing sequence, but it is only the start of the situational nightmares Bruno tends to get into.
Now if you’ve seen the trailer, you have an idea of what happens here. Bruno at one point goes hunting with a bunch of good ole’ boys and begins to ask which “Sex in the City” girl they would be. But unlike most movies that place the funny bits in the ads just to get you in, this gets even more hilarious as the put the R-rating to good use. In fact, I haven‘t laughed this hard in ages. The jokes fly fast and sharp and will certainly ruffle a few feathers, yet with purpose. There is a method to his madness. Whether you are a fan or not, he explores a lot of dirty laundry with his characters. I’m certain a whole bunch of people will be offended by his actions. In fact, about half way through the film, a family got up and left the screening I was at and never came back. Although I question why in the world you’d bring your family to see this film. But sometimes, the best way to make a statement is to laugh about it. In the midst of the humor, there are chilling moments, one of which includes a self defense instructor talking about how to deal with homosexuals.
So yeah, Bruno is outrageous, sick and offensive but pretty damn hilarious. I think I exclaimed “What the f*ck?” a few times throughout, but in a good way. And while basing an entire film on a character he created for “Da Ali G Show” could be tragically dull, there is nothing dull about Bruno. From the outrageous antics in Alabama to sex tapes of celebrities (you won’t even believe that one) this is exactly what you’d expect. And that is where a slight complaint comes, it is exactly what you’d expect. I’m surprised as hell that people still fall for the shtick, but they do, yet as an audience member I did feel a bit of déjà vu somewhere near the last half hour. Suffice it to say, this won’t convert anyone that didn’t like Borat. So if you don’t find him funny, don’t watch it. If you are somewhat curious, watch a couple of “Da Ali G Show” episodes with Bruno then make a decision. For myself, I laughed my arse off and so did most of the audience I was with… well, aside from the walkouts. Bruno may not have the freshness that Borat had, but it will please Cohen’s fans nonetheless. My rating 8/10 -- JimmyO
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