Some will see Brüno as another mockumentary with Sacha Baron Cohen poking fun at gays and the poor dumb hicks of America and their backwards tolerance issues. I saw it as a bit of a wake-up call to people who can’t imagine a world beyond their friends, family and immediate living area. Beyond the concentration on Brüno and his love for freaky sex, we are shown semi-real reactions to homosexuality, race and religion. I may not get many supporters in my feelings on the movie, but I believe it to be a nicely abstract documentary on tolerance and ideals in our current state.
In my wildest dreams (or nightmares) I would never suspect that comedy could be derived from softcore gay porn, to the point where an entire theater would be crying in laughter. I guess I can chalk it up to timing, when people are probably at their most tense due to the economic situation, having a character like Brüno show us the more primitive of our population should lead to a few laughs. If you have seen Borat, or Sacha Baron Cohen’s Ali G Show, you already know what to expect, but what you will not be ready for is how far he goes in this one.
Summary (Spoilers): Brüno is a gay, Austrian fashion reporter who has recently fallen from relevance within the fashion world. In a desperate attempt to regain his fame, he decides to set out for The United States to see if he can become as big a star as he once was in his own country. Trying his hand at first with movie auditions and bit parts, he realizes quickly that his talents are elsewhere. His next attempt at fame is to travel abroad and find a way to bring about peace between warring nations. This does not work out so well and after risking his life quite a few times in this attempt, he returns to America after taking a side-trip to Africa. In a twisted attempt at copying celebrities like Angelina Jolie and Madonna, Brüno brings back a baby African boy and takes him on a talk show to show the world his well intent. This also fails and Brüno is forced to rethink his methodology. After coming to the conclusion that fame in America can only be achieved by becoming straight like Tom Cruise and Sylvester Stallone, Brüno then travels to the most anti-gay areas of the United States to learn from Rednecks, Preachers, Swingers and MMA Fighters how to become straight. In the end he realizes that he is, who he is and even without fame he is quite happy with just being himself.
Although I covered my face during some of the more “unfamiliar” parts, I was most appalled by an interview Brüno has with 3 parents who wanted their babies to become stars. The things these people were agreeing to do for fame was beyond despicable and everything paled in comparison to it. Brüno forces you to look at your own uncomfortable reactions to certain things and makes light of a lot of prejudices that plague us today. What’s funny about it is the fact that we know these things exist, know that certain people do certain things but never had a movie blatantly expose it to our virgin eyes the way this one does… well outside of Borat that is (but lets not compare, its not the Spicy way). Sacha Baron Cohen is a master of his art, and with cameos from Bono, Chris Martin, Elton John, Slash and Snoop, it seems that most people “get it” in terms of what this movie can do.
If you have a chance to check out Brüno and are having misgivings due to the trailer, I will warn you that the trailer is such because the movie is too raw to reveal anymore (almost recieved an NC-17 rating prior to release). It is equally offensive to every race, sex and denomination so check your feelings at the door and prepare to laugh your ass off.