Sacha Baron Cohen. The Man, the myth, the legend. I seriously hold this man in very high and low regard for the things he’s done and has yet to do to cinema. In his new movie Bruno, he’s a homosexual German fashion designer trying to get a new start…let’s see how that goes…
For those of you who don’t know. Bruno is one of three bizarre characters that Sasha played on is HBO show Da Ali G Show. Even if you didn’t see 2006’s Borat, you surely heard about it from someone who did. The movie seemed to push the boundaries of that poor “R” rating, stretching it quite thin. It’s a study in shock. I think he wants to see how far we’ll let him go. And while I laughed at Borat, it was the kind of laughing I do while looking around to make sure my mom isn’t anywhere around. Jokes that involve Borat poking fun at women’s rights, destroying an old couples antique shop, and running through a hotel naked with his obese manager. The things being said and done will are quite offensive yet humorous. I had an idea of what to expect with Bruno…but it still didn’t prepare me.
The first five minutes of the movie consist of Bruno and his lover ( A tiny Asian man) using household objects to spice up their lovemaking. By this point I was smirking a bit at how ludicrous the whole scene was, but this wasn’t even the tip of the thong-wearing iceberg. Bruno gets fired from his fashion show after screwing it up due to a wardrobe malfunction with a suit made entirely of Velcro. With nobody at his side other than his obsessed assistant’s assistant, who would follow Bruno to the ends of the earth, he makes his way to America to become a celebrity. And let the gags begin!
It seems Sasha was set to find all the people who weren’t offended by his first movie, and hit them here. The gags go from having Paula Abdul sit on Mexican people as furniture, coming on to a pastor, trying to seduce Ron Paul, adopting a black child and then going on a Jerry Springer-esque show to get the all-black audience riled up, venturing to Arkansas and fooling a bunch of hillbillies into thinking they were going to see men fight each other only to find them kissing and undressing each other. I’ve given the super simplified synopsis’s of all of these gags but in the end, it’s as simple as that. And I’ve only listed a few here.
My issue with this movie isn’t that it wasn’t funny. I laughed very loudly several times but while leaving the theater I didn’t feel like I’d gained anything or even enjoyed myself that much. The cost of the laughs are what gets me. There is a particular scene where Bruno is interviewing parents to have their babies model with his own. As he explains the criteria to the parents the things they’re willing to do to have their babies model is horrifying. He even tells one mother that the baby will be dressed as Hitler tossing a Jewish baby into an oven, and that her baby will have to loose ten pounds in a week, AND that they might have to use liposuction…the mother agrees to all this. In the end it’s sad that he digs for the most loathsome, depraved, morally vacant parts of our funny bone and shakes it until it bleeds. I felt a bit ashamed to have even smirked at some of the things I did.
I’ve never walked out of a movie and I don’t think I ever will as I have a very high tolerance level, but I can’t recommend this movie to anyone unless they absolutely loved Borat, in which case it would be right up your alley. It’s about five times as eye-opening, which means I was squinting about half the time. While there was a scene where I laughed so hard I cried, I still believe that there is something deeper to comedy than a man twirling his genitals around on screen repeatedly.