Film Reviews

BRUNO

By • Jul 10th, 2009 •

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Shock and awesome. We are co-conspirators with Bruno when we know where he’s headed. Let’s keep Borat out of this.

Bruno (Sacha Baron Cohen) is an out-there-and-back Austrian fashion guru who flaunts his gay attitude and lifestyle. He wants to be the most famous Austrian in history, outranking Adolph Hitler. After his fashion show is cancelled and he is thrown out of Austria, Bruno decides to go to Los Angeles to become world famous.

Bruno takes his assistant Lutz (Gustaf Hammarsten) with him. Bruno’s calling card is his gay persona but he is oblivious to the fact that Americans want their gay celebrities and movie stars to be on the down-low. No matter how far we think we have come as a free, live-and-let-live society, we still want every gay male star to present himself just the way Rock Hudson did. Everyone wanted to believe Liberace was always looking for the right girl to replace his sainted mother.

Let’s review: Michael Jackson married twice only to make us happy.

It might scare the horses but anal bleaching, Brazilian waxes for both sexes, swingers clubs, and dildos are facts. (I cannot pass up the opportunity to also include in this list auto-erotic asphyxiation.) So are ministers who want to counsel gays to change through prayer, and trailer park people who go on talk shows for a trip to the hairdressers and free Target clothes. There is extra cash for (a) fighting and (b) showing breasts (if the women are obese the bonus rate is higher).

If you have a bizarre sex story and are missing front teeth, you are guaranteed a spot on The Jerry Springer Show. So why wouldn’t Bruno turn up with his black baby? Bruno has a lot of catching up to do. Trend-setter Madonna already has two. And what is wrong with naming a baby after O.J.? He got off scot-free for slicing up two people!

Cohen is the creator of a new comedy genre. He will probably be the master of this genre as few will have the nerve to follow his lead. Yet, there is nothing shown in BRUNO that does not take place in society. He’s just made it offensive.
He’s telling the truth and if you don’t like it, there is always Saudi Arabia’s solution, the powerful religious police, The Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice.

The scene with a psychic, as Bruno attempts to contact his dead lover, is priceless but not original. We saw Demi Moore do that in GHOST!

The “wide public bathroom stance” and “foot tapping” of Larry Craig educated many of us. There is no need to disguise or hide this kind of widely practiced behavior. It’s out there and called “cottaging”.

Gay websites even have a state-by-state listing of the best public bathrooms for cottaging. Apparently, the one Craig used was ranked very high on the list!

Baron Cohen’s purpose is to ridicule our racist attitudes towards people we feel are poor, backward and uneducated (Borat) or gay (Bruno). He is merely presenting it to us in its most exaggerated and outrageous form.
Baron Cohen’s mockery would have been hailed by Oscar Wilde as brilliant.

Bruno suddenly comes to the realization that he needs to become (or appear to be) straight in order to achieve world famous status. He goes to a minister, a swinger’s club, and spends time learning how to kill small, defenseless animals with real men.

Here is the essential Baron Cohen oeuvre. We know that Bruno will eventually do something that not only shocks the outdoorsmen, but will make them mad. We are in on it. We are Bruno’s co-conspirators. So we are ready when Bruno wants to spend time with one of the men in his tent.

Director Larry Charles understands Bruno and his genius is knowing when to keep the camera running.

Baron Cohen might be preparing to marry his baby-momma but he really takes to the gay stuff with a zeal I approve of. He likes being naked and posing. It must be a gift. And, the dominatrix encounter. I’d say it was not his first time at the rodeo.

Baron Cohen’s skill is his total emersion in his roles. There is no winking in his characterization as Bruno. He’s committed to his craft just like Robert De Niro when he played Jake La Motta and Fearless Leader.

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