Monday, July 20, 2009

Movie Review: Bruno

Requester: Gays of America

Well, it took me much longer than I would have liked (see my Transformers review for a more detailed explanation), but I finally got around to seeing Bruno. For the few of you that do not know, Bruno is one of the characters of Sacha Baron Cohen, the creator of Borat and Ali G. Before seeing the film, I was filled with apprehension. I was worried that the way in which Cohen portrayed gay stereotypes would cause audience members to laugh at him and not with him. Well, the good news is that I did not feel that Cohen’s “gay-face” set the gay community back in any way. The bad news is that I did not really think the movie was that good.

Nevertheless, the film has its funny moments and there’s enough social commentary for me to appreciate the purpose of the movie. However, the movie has many shortcomings that I feel will prevent it from achieving the popular status that Borat holds.

The biggest issue is that many of Cohen’s attempts to make a statement fall flat. For example, Cohen’s trip to the Middle East seems to serve no purpose except to provoke that culture. Although it was mildly humorous to see Cohen strut about the area in offensive outfits, seeing him chased down by the people there did not really make me feel like he was exposing a hidden truth. It didn’t seem like their reaction was a result of his homosexuality—rather it could have just been a reaction to his inappropriate attire. Whatever the reason, it wasn’t really properly developed for the audience.

In general, it seemed like Cohen was pushing too hard for laughs. I felt as if I were with someone who wasn’t really that funny, but had enough self-awareness to know he wasn’t funny. So to compensate, he just says the most outrageous and offensive things to provoke the audience. Watching Bruno get screwed by a bike with a dildo served no other purpose than to offend. I know Cohen is capable of great humor, so it’s disheartening to see him stoop so low.

That being said, a few scenes managed to capture the bite of Borat. When Bruno goes to the karate studio for self-defense lessons, the owner’s willingness to condone violence against homosexuals was alarming. Additionally, the scenes with the parents who were willing to exploit their babies were frightening. Considering the plot of the film is just a vehicle for the interviews, I sort of wish Cohen had focused more on scenes that portrayed dramatic homophobia and celebrity obsession rather than inappropriate penis humor and Hitler references.

Some of my friends were offended. Some thought it was genius. I suppose it’s really a matter of personal taste. The only way to really find out is to go on your own. However, it’s something I personally would not recommend.

Rating: 2/5 stars

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