DAILY FILM DOSE: A Daily Film Appreciation and Review Blog: Brüno

Monday, 23 November 2009


Brüno (2009) dir. Larry Charles
Starring: Sacha Baron Cohen, Gustaf Hammarsten, Clifford Bañagale, Chibundu Orukwowu


It comes as no surprise the ‘Bruno’ wasn’t as successful as ‘Borat’. While Borat cleverly poked fun at America's ignorance and hospitality, “Bruno” puts the country’s own conservative homophobic fears in their faces like a big ol' floppy dick.

I doubt if the financiers who greenlit this project even looked at the script or treatment (or whatever written form this project was in before production). I imagine they saw the film as ‘Borat 2’, and indeed, like the previous film, Baron Cohen and his compatriot behind the camera Larry Charles once again get into costume and run amuck in real live situations.

If you’re living under a rock “Bruno” is another alter-ego of Sacha Baron Cohen (who is positioning himself as the new Peter Sellers) – an Austrian homosexual fashion critic. Like Borat, a dramatic narrative is interwoven into the real world manufactured situations. Bruno desires to be famous, and by watching the talent-less celebrities of America’s reality stars he decides to come to the U.S. to make it big.

Once ashore he gets an agent, and engineers a career as a celebrity interviewer. Among the real people duped by his false personality is Paula Abdul who conducts an interview in an empty room using the hired moving help as furniture. When his journalism career alone doesn’t pan out he decides to adopt an African baby for some trendy notoriety, which produces a number of tense situations. Then Bruno comes to realize that perhaps being gay in America is holding him back and thus seeks out ways to un-gay himself. Within the absurd madness emerges a love story between Bruno, and his assistant Lutz which helps Bruno accept his homosexuality.

My main criticism of Borat was that the film worked best as a compendium of skits, no better than what we saw in his ‘Da Ali G” TV program. “Bruno” works better as a feature film for two reasons: First, the character of Bruno is more self-aware than ‘Borat’ and thus works on several intellectual levels beyond the slapstick. Second, the narrative throughline in 'Borat' which seemed forced and disconnected from the gags, feels natural to this story and to the Bruno character.

Between these two films, Sacha Baron Cohen will likely be seen as a groundbreaking genius of comedy. Few artists can stand beside Baron Cohen for his sheer courageous audacity and supreme audience-accessible entertainment. “Bruno” and “Borat” are both minor miracles.

“Bruno” is available on Blu-Ray and DVD from Universal Studios Home Entertainment

1 comment :

Ivy said...

What you said!