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Bruno (2009)

July 13, 2009

VERDICT:
8/10 Talking Penises

Not as good as Borat, but freakin’ hilarious all the same.

Bruno is about Sacha Baron Cohen parading around the world, posing as a 19-year-old, flamboyantly gay, Austrian male model/fashionista that gets blacklisted from the fashion world and must find a way to get back into the public eye. It’s more or less the same story as Borat, only this time Borat is gay.

In one sense, the whole feeling that you’ve seen this before could be considered a drawback, but considering how damn good Borat was, it probably wasn’t such a bad call to stick with a winning formula. The movie really just ends up being a vehicle for Bruno to make everyone he comes in contact with as horribly uncomfortable as humanly possible. And considering that Sacha Baron Cohen obviously has no shame whatsoever, things get really, really awkward.

Before the movie started, I received a text message from a friend of mine informing me that he “Just saw Bruno. Can’t believe that it was rated R.” Consider this review a reiteration of that statement. If you thought Borat was pushing the envelope, dear lord…

I’m tempted to go ahead and list some of the bizarro shit that goes on in this movie, but since I had to go through it blind (and laugh my ass off as a result), I’d only be ruining it for you if you didn’t go into it the same way. In short, there’s a lot of “dude-ity” (see what I did there?) and if sitting through Milk or Brokeback Mountain was a little much, you might just want to go see Up instead.

My one complaint with Bruno is that it doesn’t really work as a social commentary against homophobia in the way that Borat worked as a big “fuck you” to ignorant Southern racists and drunk college kids with mean prejudices towards women. The problem is that while Bruno puts a lot of people on the spot and makes them visibly shudder with his wildly open displays of homosexuality, he doesn’t really go after the right people. Anyone, gay or straight, would be uncomfortable if they were forced to watch male genitalia flopping around in their faces…and then have to react when the penis starts talking.

It works at times because it’s not Baron Cohen that needs to be shocking to get that result, it’s when everyone else starts flaunting their prejudices that makes everyone in the theater gasp (ie: that racist bastard from the rodeo who told Borat to shave off his terrorist mustache). If he targeted more people on the other end of the spectrum, like some serious homophobes that are damn proud of their homophobic beliefs, the final product would have been much more effective.

So it might not be as good as Borat and it doesn’t really work all that well as a social commentary, but then again, I’m still laughing to myself to the point where I’m short of breath just by replaying scenes from this movie in my head. I took me like an hour to go to sleep last night just because I couldn’t stop laughing. The only other movie I can fathom being anywhere near as funny as this might be Funny People, but that’s a whole different kind of humor anyway.

If you’ve got strong nerves and you liked Borat, you won’t be disappointed with Bruno. I just hope to God people aren’t gonna be quoting this thing for the next four months.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. Rob permalink
    July 13, 2009 9:12 am

    Totally agreed. Problem is I don’t know what he can do next. I feel like now that he’s got a movie for each of his “schticks,” any character he creates after this just won’t feel the same.

    Now I just have to wait for Funny People and District 9 (especially after seeing the new trailer for the latter)…

    • Aiden R permalink*
      July 13, 2009 9:27 am

      Yeah, it’s kind of hard to not recognize the guy at this point, gonna have trouble duping people from now on. But then again, it’s about time he tried a different format considering he’s already used up his three main alter-egos.

      And yeah, hopefully District 9 will be good. New trailer looks a lot better, but kind of looks Transformer-y for some reason.

      • Rob permalink
        July 13, 2009 4:36 pm

        Yeah, it does look a bit like Transformers, I’ll grant you that, but I like Blomkamp’s style better than Bay’s. Don’t get me wrong, when it comes to frenetic and intense, Bay get’s the job done, but Blomkamp can bring the profoundness of the message. Bay tried to bring the social commentary with The Island, and while I enjoyed the movie for what it was (a couple of hours of over-the-top fun), the action overshadowed any message he was trying to convey (typical).

        I don’t know if you’ve seen any of Blomkamp’s work online, but if you haven’t, take a look at Alive in Joburg, the short film on which D9 is based. Also check out the films he made to help promote Halo 3. All I can say is that Jackson really, REALLY believes in this guy, especially when you see what he can do with a relatively meager budget. Maybe this can be the kick the studios need to finally greenlight and produce a Halo movie worthy of the franchise. Comic book movies are flying high…it’s about time we saw the same from a video game movie…

      • Aiden R permalink*
        July 14, 2009 9:46 am

        I’m afraid I can’t give any love for Bay, the guy’s a hack, but I’ll check out this stuff from Blomkamp. Looks promising.

        And speaking of video game movies, not going to get my hopes up to high for Halo to be good, but I’ll see it anyway when it finally comes out. Someone needs to make a Metal Gear Solid movie asap.

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