Written by Sacha Baron Cohen & Anthony Hines & Dan Mazer & Jeff Schaffer
Directed by Larry Charles
Running Time: 1:23
Rated R for pervasive strong and crude sexual content, graphic nudity and language.
Brüno was a completely crazy, envelope crushing film which left me wondering how Sacha Baron Cohen wasn't shot at least three different times.
Brüno is a gay Austrian fashionista who has his own popular TV show. But when he falls on troubled times and is fired, he must find another way to regain the celebrity he once had. His big idea? Go to America and became famous! Brüno tries many different ways of becoming famous including starting his own talk show, trying to make a sex tape, adopting a baby from Africa and much, much more. And along the way he gets himself, and others, into completely insane situations.
Sacha Baron Cohen must have some kind of death wish. I swear there were at least three times during Brüno where I thought someone was going to kill him. He takes his characters to the very edge before finally reeling them back in. It makes for edge-of-your-seat movie viewing though, I will give him that. Obviously, Brüno will be compared to his last creation, Borat since both are the same type of film, although in many ways, completely different. Borat was a foreign journalist and spent more time letting people hang themselves with their comments. He was more of the fly on the wall watching as his unsuspecting victims said things that would make the country hate them. Brüno on the other hand is all about himself and while there are moments where he lets people make a fool of themselves, most of the time Brüno ends up making fun of himself. What that means of course is that Baron Cohen can not only push the envelope, he can crush it completely.
It would be hard to talk about the movie without ruining some of the best scenes. What you see in the commercials is a far cry from what ends up in the movie. The trailers have to be somewhat tame, while in the movie you see more of Baron Cohen than you might want to. While the naked wrestling scene from Borat over-the-top, there are moments in Brüno that put that moment to shame. For most people, it's one thing to be embarrassed by a foreigner, because you can almost sort of forgive someone who doesn't have a grasp of the English language. But to be embarrassed by a gay guy? That doesn't sit well with a lot of people.
Having Brüno be extremely openly gay allowed for a ton of gay-related humor that could turn a lot of people off. Some of the things he does are ridiculously funny, including the scene where he visits a psychic and wants to 'talk' to the ghost of Milli from Milli Vanilli. But while Baron Cohen goes above and beyond the call of duty in making Brüno and off-the-wall gay caricature, it's watching people's reactions that are amazing. Ron Paul gets sets up for one of the scenes and watching him as he slowly starts to realize what's happening to him is priceless. Seeing Paula Abdul accept the most ridiculous interview I've ever seen was laugh-out-loud funny. And watching people expecting to see a Ultimate Fighting Championship but getting a lot more than they bargained for may be the highlight of the film.
The movie isn't as new and fresh as Borat was because you know what Baron Cohen is going to do to people. You start to look at scenes and try and figure out which ones are staged and which ones are real. The end of the scene at the swingers party to me looked completely faked. But the scene with Brüno interviewing parents to have their children appear in a photoshoot? Impossible to tell. But if it was real, and that's how I'm leaning, then dear Lord... Oh, and the three moments I thought Baron Cohen was going to get killed? First, when he was in the Middle East talking to someone and says that Osama Bin Laden looks like a 'dirty Santa' amongst other things. You can actually hear a voice off camera saying 'get out now!' Second, when he went camping with a bunch of true Southern rednecks and decided to pay a late night visit to one of their tents. And lastly, the final big sequence at the end of the film which involved two men in a cage, which turned into something other than fight. All three scenes are completely hysterical but at the same time, you fear for his life.
THE BOTTOM LINE
So overall, I loved Brüno. It is totally outrageous and crazy but extremely funny. There are a lot of moments that not everyone will be a fan of, but I found myself laughing throughout the entire movie and would be more than happy to see it again.