“Brüno”
a review by Darby O’Gill

Sacha Baron Cohen is back, and this time he’s brought his flamboyantly gay Austrian fashion correspondent, Brüno, to the big screen. I wish I could say it’s a welcomed return, but sadly it just doesn’t live up to its “Borat” predecessor. I think the biggest problem here is that it seems like Baron Cohen truly didn’t try to do anything new. This is the exact same story he told in “Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan.” The bear has been replaced with an adopted African baby, the Kazakhstan producer was replaced by a homosexual assistant in love with Brüno, and the cross country road trip replaced with… well, nothing, because it is another road trip story. I can’t for the life of me figure out why Sacha has just simply cookie cut this new film. He really didn’t have to. On the original HBO TV series, “Da Ali G Show,” Brüno was a character who would interview people in the fashion industry, which he does if only for a moment in this film. I personally would have liked a more fashion oriented story line. I can’t believe I just said that, because I would never want to watch a movie about fashion, but that’s what this character was created for and is really best at. The reason Borat works so well is because he’s a lovable, culturally challenged, misguided foreigner.The same can’t be said for Brüno, because he’s not misguided. He’s just stupid. The other problem with this film is that much like “Borat” a lot of the film seems staged and faked as real reactions, when clearly they’re not. Where as “Borat” was about 80% of real situations, sadly only 10% of “Brüno” can fit that bill. One of the reasons Brüno works so well in the fashion world, is because everyone in that industry is so self absorbed, that no one would ever question a character like Brüno being real. Once you take him out of that element, its hard to believe anyone would buy his act, which is why this movie doesn’t work. Also with the success of “Borat,” more and more people became aware of Sacha Baron Cohen’s characters, and were therefore not as easily fooled as they may have been in the past.  Is it’s funny? Yes. But in the end it’s just a scripted comedy that is not any different from a skit on “Saturday Night Live.” I really question the situations and reactions in this film, much more than I did in “Borat.” You might just be better off renting “Zoolander” and imagining Brüno in that movie.

 

I also recently found out that one of the bits, which was in the version I saw, has been cut from the film do to the untimely death of Michael Jackson. In said scene, La Toya Jackson is interview by Brüno, as Mexican men are used as chairs and furniture because there is no furniture in the house. La Toya hangs out and politely banters with Brüno, who asks if she could introduce him to her more famous brother, Michael. She kindly says, “No.” But, when Brüno asks to see her cell phone, he finds what is supposedly Michael Jackson‘s phone number, and reads it to his assistant in German. Don’t worry; this joke isn’t completely lost considering they do the same thing with Paula Abdul. I really am on the fence about this film, because parts of it were very funny; however it wants you to believe these situations are real when they’re painfully faked. I’m afraid no amount of gypsy tears is going to save “Brüno” from a low rating.

 

Rating:
2 Little People

 

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