There's Something To Be Learned From A Gay German
Bruno In Review
Let me begin by saying that I’ve lost count of the number of times that my sense of humor has embarrassed me. I’m the type of person who loves to make people laugh and rarely minces words when it comes to describing something for comedic effect. In terms of what makes me laugh, I don’t shy away from movies and jokes that others would deem “inappropriate for women” and, when it comes from a place of humor, little can offend me. All of this having been said, Bruno is very offensive.
Bruno tells the story of a gay German television personality named Bruno (Sasha Baron Cohen) who loses his job, credibility and boyfriend after he ruins a fashion show (His Velcro suit accidentally becomes attached to a curtain and he ends up on the runaway.). He flees to Los Angeles in the hopes of becoming a celebrity. Unable to turn his back on the man he secretly loves, Lutz (Gustaf Hammarsten), Bruno’s assistant’s assistant, accompanies Bruno to the States. After numerous attempts at trying to become an actor, he decides that the only way he’ll gain notoriety is by adopting a cause. He flies to the Middle East, but is unable to bring peace even after he sings a song he wrote for the warring sides. When he returns to the US, we learn that he bought an African baby along the way. After he appears with the baby on a talk show, a child services agent takes the baby away. Crushed after losing his son, Bruno realizes he will never find success as a gay person and decides to become straight. Will the church successfully be able to brainwash him? If so, will he finally find success? Will he get his son back? These questions and more will be answered if you dare to see this movie.
Based on the coming attractions, you are given the impression that you’re going to see a funny movie about an unusual guy. Reading interviews with Cohen, you are given the sense that he wrote this movie to entertain people into being more open-minded and less judgmental of gay people. Had Cohen simply done this, the movie would’ve been both enjoyable and timely. However, he had to kick it up a notch and I believe he went too far. What you couldn’t possibly have known by reading interviews and watching coming attractions is that he relies heavily on nudity and explicit sexual humor. I would never call myself a prude, however I saw no need in seeing his (or someone else’s) penis on the big screen. Nor did I have to see heterosexual couples engaging in activities one would engage in at a swinger’s party. To me, this stuff isn’t funny.
On the other hand, I fully understand Cohen’s reasoning for including these gags especially the swinger’s party. Currently, many American states are debating whether or not to legalize same sex marriage. Certain groups of Americans believe gays shouldn’t be given the right to marry because it’s immoral and, furthermore, that gay people in any context are abominations. Yet, Cohen shows us that many of these same people engage in behavior that certainly God wouldn’t condone. They believe so fiercely in the sanctity of marriage that they attend sex parties where each partner engages in a sex act with someone who isn’t their spouse. Obviously, these people have never looked up the definition of the word immoral.
In general, Cohen’s Bruno does seek to point out how warped our society is by magnifying bad behavior to the point where it’s both humorous and undeniable. For example, he interviews stage parents to see how far they would go to get a modeling gig for their child thus showcasing how rotten and desperate these parents are. He hosts a fake fight show to see how far die hard straight people would go to prove they are straight. When he starts to kiss another man and the fans start throwing things at them, the situation becomes uncomfortably scary. Through both examples, we see how flawed certain groups of people are and can only hope that they were just actors in on the joke and not real people in real situations as they are advertised to be.
Obviously, I wish Cohen had made a less filthy movie. I believe his message to be important and it could’ve been more widely used as a teaching tool if he had literally kept his privates in his pants. However, he decided that in order for his message to get out it had to be hidden underneath piles of inappropriateness. Unfortunate as this is, there is still hope that it can do good.
Considering all that I have said, I find it hard to decide whether or not to recommend this movie. If you are able to look past the nudity and sexual situations, beyond just learning a lesson, there is humor to be found. Cohen is a funny man who knows exactly what buttons to push to get an honest answer from unlikely people. Still, the nudity is abundant and has the ability to turn you off from the message. Clearly, Cohen has made a silly movie with an important message. The problem is who will stay past the tenth penis sighting to hear it?
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