Review: Bruno

Bruno (2009)
81 minutes
Rated – R
Directed by Larry Charles
Starring:  Sacha Baron Cohen

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Grade:  B-

Bruno, Bruno, Bruno where for art thou Bruno? Well he’s probably shoving his junk in someone’s face.  Bruno (Cohen) is the story of a man who is a famous Austrian TV star that has gotten banned from fashion week in Milan and then decides to go on a pilgrimage to Los Angeles to become a true celebrity. Along the way he interviews many different people in order to make a TV show and through this he discovers that in order to become famous in America he must become straight.  After a few failed attempts during counseling, he realizes he’s been in love with his assistant the whole time and somehow succeeds in becoming famous.

Now when you put the plot in words like that it sounds kind of endearing, but let me ensure you that this movie is anything but endearing. The film, at its core, is a message about our society. A message that says, look at how we treat homosexuals. Look at how we view them not as people, but as something less. The whole movie involves this character, Bruno, and has him interact with different members of society to show us how these individuals react to someone who is a homosexual.

One of the prime examples of this is one that most people have seen a bit of in the trailers. What I’m referring to is the scene where Bruno goes camping with three male hunters. The entire time that Bruno spends with them they make references to his sexual preference being wrong. The scene ends hilariously with Bruno trying to enter one of the hunters’ tents, naked, which results in the hunter flipping out and screaming vulgarities and then knocking hte camera down.

Another theme is the idea of being a celebrity. The movie pokes fun at the concept of wanting to become famous and the will to stop at nothing to receive that fame. There are two prime examples of this: the first being early on in the movie when Bruno lands an interview with Paula Abdul. Paula comes over to interview and there is no furniture in the room, so Bruno tells her to sit on a Mexican worker who is on all fours trying to look like something to sit on. Paula then proceeds to sit on the Mexican worker and starts to talk about her humanitarian work. I mean REALLY Paula…REALLY???  Is that how dumb you are, or is it a statement at how far you will go to maintain your celebrity persona?

The second example is when Bruno is interviewing mothers to see which baby is right for a commercial he’s making.  Almost all of the parents say yes to anything asked of the babies.  Bruno even asks the mother if her baby could lose ten pounds by the next week. Her response is quite unbelievable… she says “yeah he could do that if it got him the part”. I almost flew out of my seat! I couldn’t believe someone would actually do that to their own kid.

The movie succeeds in showing how a big portion of our society acts, with possibly the most memorable scene in the film. This is where a character of Straight Dave, a seemingly famous personality that is the host of some mixed martial arts association, gets called a derogative term by an audience member. Dave invites this person into the ring to fight, they begin to fight, and then all of a sudden they start making out with each other.  The crowd flips out and starts to throw things in the ring.  A chair is among the things that almost hit the two gay males making out.

A lot of people compare this movie to Borat, which is a fair comparison because they are similar mocumentary style movies with one lead character trying to achieve a goal and interviewing people along the way. This movie is not nearly as good as Borat because it fails to be as controversial. This may be because it only focuses on two subjects as opposed to the more broad messages that Borat addressed. Or possibly it’s because the actor, Sacha Baron Cohen is better known now and it’s harder for him to achieve the same results he did with Borat. I still liked this movie because it made me think about how society operates, and since it made me laugh very hard throughout. So check it out, and see how you react to homosexuality.

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