Starring Sacha Baron Cohen
Directed by Larry Charles (Borat)
Rated R for pervasive strong and crude sexual content, graphic nudity, and language
Appropriate for ages 18+
Flamboyant Austrian fashion talk show host Bruno decides that he wants to become an A-list celebrity in America, but every attempt he makes turns out badly for him.
If this plot seems kind of simple, that’s because it’s inconsequential. Really, just like in his film Borat, Cohen mixes reality with scripted comedy to show a look at America that most Americans will be very uncomfortable with. He learned a valuable lesson with Borat though – a story can really sell the stunts. And so this loosely sewn together set of gags and punks shown in a 90-minute tale is much more entertaining than like they would have been on their own as they were in his HBO program Da Ali G Show.
I really thought he was pushing the boundary of decency with Borat, and he was, but Bruno is surprisingly offensive. Whether it’s the one of dozens of homosexual jokes, the African baby he adopts, the Ron Paul seduction, or the many, many full nude scenes, this movie crosses the line to the point where you wonder if the MPAA even watched it.
That being said, it is funny. Really funny. I found it hard not to laugh at the many antics and sketches. I felt bad for some of the folks, such as Ron Paul and the poor preacher he picks on. I wanted lightening to strike others, such as the parents of the babies he interviews for a casting session. But regardless – I laughed at all of it. If he’s good at one thing here, it’s pointing a finger how silly our obsession with A-list celebrity culture really is.
Unlike Borat though, the story is not quite as strong and the character is not as likable. Cohen and company probably took it up a notch because they knew this and they had to get folks in the theaters somehow. After all, while Borat was just as silly, the narrative was strong enough to earn an Oscar-nomination for screenplay, and this story doesn’t have a chance. B-