Brüno

With the landmark 100 reviews out of the way, it’s time to settle back into the swing of things and plod towards the next meaningless milestone. Woohoo!

Brüno (2009)

After the phenomenal success of Borat (no, I’m not going to type the entire title…), it was clear that Sacha Baron Cohen was going to raid the archives of Da Ali G Show to try and make another truckload of cash. That sentence may read as scathing, but it’s not intentional. I loved Da Ali G Show and found Borat to be very, very funny. However, I was a bit apprehensive going in to Brüno (fnarr, fnarr) because I didn’t think that the character of Brüno was strong enough to carry a whole feature length movie in the same way that Borat did. I needn’t have worried, they’re pretty much the same film.

“How do you defend yourself against a man with a dildo?”

Gay fashionista Brüno (Sacha Baron Cohen) is fired from his presenting job on Funkyzeit mit Brüno– Austria’s hit fashion show, after a catwalk blunder involving an ill-advised velcro suit. Brüno decides that the fashion world is too shallow and with massive irony blinkers on, tries to become a celebrity in the U.S. It’s pretty much a more showbiz-related spin on the plot of Borat. In the basic details, it’s exactly the same. Foreign man travels to the USA to find himself, makes people feel uncomfortable and has a sidekick assistant. Assistant leaves during course of film only to be reunited later. To be honest, I expected more from the plot, rather than just a slight rehash of what we’ve seen before. It worked well enough, mind you. Just irked me a little. The film is shot in the same mockumentary style and will have you questioning what is real and what is staged throughout the runtime, instead of actually paying attention to the film.

Apart from Borat, there was one other film that Brüno kept reminding me of- Crank 2. Whilst Brüno didn’t have the Stath arsing about saying incredibly racist one-liners, it did lurch from one offensive scene to other, desperately trying to cause outrage. You can’t blame it for trying, but all the talking penises (honestly) in the World couldn’t have offended me. Whilst trying to be massively avant-garde, Brüno also seems very tame sometimes- especially when celebrities are involved.

I normally say that a film should be funnier with its premise, but I didn’t think that Brüno was going to be funny. It was. Sure, there’s the same problem we always get with imported comedies- the U.S. centric humour etc, but there were enough gags to keep me chuckling. Whilst I didn’t find the fake German words schtick funny, some of the things Cohen was prepared to do had me in stitches. Cohen’s humour has always been letting people hang themselves with their own noose and a lot of this is present in Brüno. It was genuinely disturbing to watch what parents were prepared to subject their babies to for a photoshoot. Some of the scenes really had me laughing from beginning to end. I especially loved the hunting scene where Brüno compares himself and his three redneck hunting buddies to the Sex and the City girls. The swingers party is also not to be missed.

My main question throughout Brüno was what was Sacha Baron Cohen trying to prove with it? In Borat, it was all about xenophobia and showing up supposedly regular Americans for ignorant fools. In Brüno he seems to be tackling homophobia, xenophobia, the shallow nature of fashion, the shallow nature of celebrity and nearly everything inbetween. This may seem like over-analysis but I believe that as an intelligent man, Cohen has thought about this in great detail.

“I’m committing carbicide.”

All in all, Brüno is a funny film. In comparison to Borat, they’re on about the same level in terms of humour. If you liked the misadventures of Borat, you’ll love Brüno. Oh, and see the 18 rated version, not the crappy cut-down 15. What happened to artistic vision, eh?


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