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and he doesn't look a thing like Borat
on July 10, 2009
I have to see Bruno more than once, most people probably do too. That's because Bruno is one of those rare movies where you're laughing so hard at some parts you know you're missing the next funny thing. As gay, Austrian fashionista and celebrity-wannabe Bruno, Baron Cohen continues his jaw-droppingly crass and outrageous stealth comedy antics. Purportedly, Baron Cohen has been beaten up while in character, so it only seems fair that he makes his audience laugh hard enough to hurt.
Of course the usual Baron Cohen caveat is in order: yes, its offensive, yes, its gross, yes, there is a LOT of nudity, mostly male. If any of this is not your cup of tea, that's dandy, no hard feelings. If you don't mind the occasional sight of literally bouncing balls in the name of comedy, Bruno is pure gold.
Post Borat fame has probably necessitated that more of this movie be staged, with at least some of the people (a talk show host, the driver of an oncoming car) in on the joke. But scripted or natural- its wickedly funny. And enough of it is genuine- including Bruno's interview/sex tape with Ron Paul, parents of would-be baby stars volunteering their 12-month-olds to play Nazis, ex-gay ministers, straight-rally wrestling audiences and general bystanders to Bruno's public antics.
Bruno balances the line between social commentary and comedy like a model on a catwalk. As with Borat half the humor comes from people reactings (or not) to the character's outrageous behavior, and half from the eerily apt caricature Baron Cohen creates. Fame-hound Bruno is everything narcissitic, uninformed, vain and with the all-too-common undeserved sense of entitlement that makes up the worst of American pop culture. As with Borat, Bruno learns some life-lessons and grows as a person by the end of the movie- as Baron Cohen always seems to want to better his audience, even if he has to beat them over the head with a dildo to do it.