Review: Bruno

7 10

PLOT: Flamboyant Austrian fashion reporter Bruno (Sacha Baron Cohen) is fired from his television show and is suddenly a nobody. In an attempt to become famous again, he heads to Los Angeles, attempting everything from a talk show involving a spinning penis, to adopting a baby from Africa to going to a “doctor” who claims to be able to make him straight. If you are unfamiliar with Cohen's work, this character is from DA ALI G SHOW. He presents the character to unsuspecting real people, who somehow have no idea they're being fooled.

REVIEW: Unless you are really, really, really, really difficult to offend, you will be upset by something in this film. Seriously, count the “really”s. Do the math. Prepare yourself. Sacha Baron Cohen does not pull punches. If you were disturbed by BORAT, you are going to have a serious problem with BRUNO. Please consider this before you read the rest of the review. If you fall into the offended category, you're going to hate my opinion. Feel free to be outraged, but remember, you were warned.

The shock started early in the film with a talking penis (which was hysterical), moved to a pantomime blow job that must be seen to be believed and a dirty toilet brush in the mouth of a sex partner. I'll let you imagine what might have caused the dirt. (Please re-read the above warning.) There are live sex acts, full frontal and babies strapped to crucifixes. There is a sex scene involving giant sling shots and a fire extinguisher. Every time you think he can't go any farther, he blows you away again. And the most disturbing part? The fact that Cohen never breaks character. Even while he's being beaten by a dominatrix with a belt. I am flabbergasted by the dedication this man has to his character. And a little freaked out, frankly. By the end of the film, I was surprised no one had seriously hurt him.

There is a secondary plot about Bruno's love life and it's really only there to give a framework to the shocking situations. The story is not really the point. I can't remember the last time I laughed so hard. I'm talking tears-running-down-the-face, stomach-in-pain, hope-you-hit-the-bathroom-before-the-movie kind of laughing. I cannot believe half of what I saw. I spoke to people who were upset about some of the tricks played on people in BORAT, but this is a bit different. Bruno is such a broad stereotype, and so over the top that, if you don't know you're being punked, you're dumb as a box of hair. A man who looks like this, cameras and a consent form? Come on now. I'm dying to know if any of it was set up. I'm pretty sure the scene with Ron Paul was real. The man looks furious. I see a law suit in the future. (God, I wish I could tell you what happens, but it would spoil the joke.)

I know I'm going to get a lot of shit for saying that I really liked this film. I mean, I was offended by the obvious racist robots in TRANSFORMERS. Call me a hypocrite if you want. I will totally understand. In my defense, I will say this. When I go to see a film about vehicles that transform into cars, I do not expect to be offended. When I see a film with Sacha Baron Cohen, I'm not expecting to see PC bunnies frolicking on the screen. And there are some people in the gay community who live their lives flamboyantly and proudly. This is obviously a caricature. The robots were not taking a real lifestyle to an extreme. They were embodying a racist view of African Americans. Honestly, I don't know what the intention was there. I just know what I saw.

That said, I understand the criticism of BRUNO. A friend pointed out that there are still plenty of places in the country where this type of character defines being gay for some people. I'm not being elitist about big cities, by the way. People can be close-minded there too. Hell, my state has major urban centers and the idiots still banned gay marriage. But honestly, the thing that offended me, and what I hope offends everyone else, are the shockingly homophobic people he exposes. They were sickening. It was horrifying. I cannot believe these people are OK with such hatred and intolerance. And I think that's the point. If this is all taken the way I believe it was intended to be, a real issue is presented with humor. Shocking, insane, over-the-top humor, but humor just the same. I actually think Michael Moore could learn from this. People don't want a lecture. Make me laugh, and I'll listen.

So here's the bottom line. I was stunned, entertained, amused, surprised and shocked by Cohen's dedication to his character. I laughed until it hurt. I'm pretty sure I got the message. I know my opinion might be wildly unpopular, but I loved it.

RATING: 7/10

Source: JoBlo.com



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