Theatrical Review: Brüno
As we start, we find that young Brüno is a flamboyantly gay 19 and the top of the fashionista world in his native Austria- he’s the tops one moment and the next his world has come tumbling down. Now at his lowest, Brüno, decides to come to America with his sole goal: to become a big, famous star…
So’s the basic premise to Brüno the newest movie from star Sacha Baron Cohen, following up his fantastic success with his last move Borat with another in the same vein- partially scripted with some manufactured events and some totally real but combining to give you a comedic experience really unlike anything else out there right now. The temptation is there to say “if you liked Borat, you’ll probably like Brüno just as much,” but if our audience was any indication, that may not be true… oh for me, I laughed harder than I have at any other movie I’ve seen this year and at the same time I was just as appalled at some of the things that I saw on screen (in particular, two scenes, one involving former Presidential candidate Ron Paul and another with various “stage parents” that was really horrifying). Borat did a lot of shocking things, but with Brüno, Cohen and director Larry Charles push the envelope even further, if you can imagine that.
Now, obviously, this plays a lot with it’s character being gay and pushing that in some situations, and there’s where my one criticism lies- it’s mostly doing that with the expense of mid and southern USA in mind, definitely adding to a stereotype of those regions perceived perceptions of homosexuals. And while that perception may be true to an extent, I’d figure that given the extreme situations here that Brüno’s creating, even the most “enlightened” heterosexual, East or West Coaster might react in the same ways- it’s just more of a guaranteed laugh going the way that they’re going.
But still, I was mightily entertained, and much like with Borat I’m at the end of this just wondering how the hell they did everything that goes on here (which is something that I certainly cannot say with most of today’s conventionally scripted comedies) and just what steps are taken for Cohen’s safety in these situations. After seeing Borat, I thought that Cohen was one of the bravest performers out there, and Brüno just reinforces that.
There’s also the possibility that a little of this can go a long way (especially with some reviews that I’ve read), but I think this is paced just right and at a lean 88 minute running time, certainly packs a lot in.
But still… this may not be for everybody. Brüno goes for quite a bit of shock and for quite a bit of discomfort, even more than Borat, and understandably, that just may not be everyone’s cup of tea. I’m not exactly the biggest fan of a lot of contemporary comedies, a lot of people have told me to see The Hangover for instance, and from what I’ve seen of the trailer, I think I’ve already seen the movie (it may very well be good, I’m really just not interested in seeing it and they haven’t sold me on it being a “must view” experience with their trailer- and I can say the same thing for Judd Apatow movies, Jack Black, Will Ferrell and so on)- but with Sacha Baron Cohen’s work, I can’t say that, his work is fearless, and there’s always something there that’s just unlike anything else out there. I laughed, I cringed, and I certainly had a good time talking about this afterwards and that’s enough for me to give this one big recommendation…