Borat pushed the boundaries a while back, but Bruno seems to have crossed way over that boundary
When "Borat" hit the world a few years ago, America was laughing histarically at his antics. Even hearing praises from quite a few critics like Rolling Stone and Time Magazine, as they labeled Sacha Baron Cohen as edgy, innovative, and funny. Yet, it seems that he may have gone a step too far with his latest film creation. Don't get me wrong, I love all the characters from the "Ali G Show" as I find them hillarious. With each character displaying their own controversial humor into small doses. However, Sacha may have gone too far with this film. Not to sound like a racist myself, but the simple fact is that this movie was made way before its time. Featuring three controversial topics like the gay life style, gay marriage, and gay adoption. Any one of these topics would've been controversial for any film to handle, but "Bruno" tackles all three of those things while throwing in a guy on guy sex scene and a lot of female and male genetalia along the way, especially the male parts. In fact, in one scene, they show Bruno waving his thing in front of the camera while trying to launch a pilot for his show, to a T.V. network. A bit extreme yes, but it's true. The film follows Bruno (Sacha Baron Cohen) as he loses his job as an Australian fashion and media reporter and is forced to move to the USA, along with his assistant Lutz (Gustaf Hammarsten). Along the way, Bruno struggles trying to achieve celebrity stardom in the USA due to his controversial stunts like trying to sleep with Green Party Presidential Candidate, Ron Paul. Or doing an interview show with Paula Abdul while offering her sushi off a naked guy. This of course causes rifts between Lutz and Bruno as Lutz falls in love with him, yet Bruno ignores his affection believing himself to still be too good for him despite their one erotic night together. The cinematography for this film is shot just like the show, for those that are familiar with Sacha Baron Cohen's work. The film although a bit excessive in certain areas, it does have it's moments at time. Like the scene where Bruno camps out in the woods with a bunch of guys and pretends to have a nightmare, while parading around naked, as an excuse to sleep in the tents with the other guys, will make any viewer laugh outragiously. Plus, it seems "Bruno" may have stolen a few ideas from "Borat", like the kung fu lessons that Bruno takes later in the movie, that plays out rather similiar to when Cohen had his Borat character take up the same lessons, in his movie. However, for what it's worth, "Bruno" is a fairly decent comedy for what it is. It certainly won't be as commercially successful due to it's highly controversial topics, but it'll definitely be worth a few laughs for those with open mind for comedy.
Whether he's portraying Ali G, Borat, or even Bruno, Cohen has always tried to push the envelope for controversy. However, it seems like even he has crossed a line that I fear, he never should've crossed. Like I stated earlier, this film was made way before it's time. Although, I know many people would like to think we've evolved at a point in our culture to be more socially understanding about the homosexual life style, but the reality is that we haven't. If so would we really still be outlawing gay marriage? Or fire a man from being a scout master or teacher for being openly gay, stated in various news shows like "Nightline." The point here is this. Whenever you make a film about the gay lifestyle, gay marriage, gay adoption, or any combination of the three, then your bound to raise controversy with western audiences. "Bruno" takes on all three subjects while displaying two guys having sex, for about five mine on screen. Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against that particular lifestyle as I enjoyed other films that were about the gay lifestyle like "Brokeback Mountain", for instance. Plus, I even have a few close friends of mine, that happen to be homosexuals and bisexuals. Therefore, I'm very tolerant when it comes to the gay lifestyle, portrayed in movies, but if you see someone as patient as me feeling a bit uneasy about "Bruno", then that's probably not a good sign for this film.
I really don't want to see two guys have sex in a movie. I don't mind or let alone care about if they were to make references to it or at least give the audience the impression that sex took place, just as long as they don't show it. Like the one scene where it shows Lutz and Bruno tied together in a sex like position, in S&M gear after their erotic night together, as they try to get someone to free them during a Anti-Gay rally, was pretty funny. Perfectly acceptable as far as I'm concerned because they didn't show them having sex, but it gave you the general impression that they did. However, when they show two gay guys having sex on screen for like five minutes at the beggining of the movie, that's where I draw the line personally. Like I said before, I'm not prejudice, but there are some things that even I don't want to see on a movie screen.
However, with all that aside, the rest of the movie was pretty funny for what it was. As the film covers Bruno's many exploits as he tries to become famous in America, will make anyone laugh their hearts out. In one scene, it shows Bruno as he goes to the middle east to try to resolve the issues between the nation of Islam and Jurusalem by talking to two of their religious leaders through song, even going as far as to drugging them to get them to cooperate with each other. When I first saw this scene, it made me laugh so hard as I couldn't stop myself. Then there was another scene in the film that had Bruno trying to talk a terrorist leader into kidnapping him for publicity. It was scenes like these that truly made the movie funny.
It was even funny as Bruno, at one point in the movie, tries to change his sexuality by going to an orgy session. But keeps having all these gay inuendos to disturb everyone's good time, like in one scene where it shows a guy having sex with his girlfriend, as Bruno keeps telling him to look into his eyes as the guy f**** her. Or even the scene where Bruno has one of the guys show him all the sex positions along with the dominatrix girl that beats him up, will make anyone laugh histarically at some of his antics.
Even some of the brief interviews with celebrities and the day time talk show bit were comical like when Harrison Ford tells Bruno, "F*** you!", as he tries to interview him. Is just freaking hillarious. Or when he tells everyone on a day time talk show, how he traded for the African baby for an I-Pod and how he nicknamed him OJ, will have audiences laughing in their seats.
Unfortunately, this film does tend to rip off a few ideas from "Borat." Like the kung fu lessons were first used in "Borat", Sacha had his character take up lessons to protect himself against Jews in a comical sort of way. In "Bruno", when his character tries to go straight, he takes up lessons to defend himself against other homosexuals using an assortment of "what if" scenarios, with dildos. Albeit, still funny, but not very original though. Even the therapy lessons that Bruno takes to become straight are very reminiscent of Borat's scenes, when he tries to get lessons on proper ettiquete of dining, as both characters mess up their lessons in a very comical sort of way. Don't get me wrong, I loved those scenes, in "Bruno", even though they were ripped off from "Borat." However, it is a tad disappointing considering Sacha Baron Cohen's body of work.
"Bruno" won't be as commercially successful as "Borat" due to it's controversial content, but it should keep any fan of the "Ali G Show" entertained as long as they keep a open mind. "Bruno" is a funny film that I would watch again, minus a couple of scenes of course. Albeit, a bit disturbing at times, but it'll still be worth watching if you loved the "Ali G" series.