It was nearly impossible to miss the promotion going on for Sacha Baron Cohen’s newest film, “Bruno.” If you weren’t bombarded with teaser trailers on TV, then you saw his best impersonation of “Blue Steel” plastered on billboards or tales of his antics at premieres scattered throughout the media. With so much bizarre publicity, “Bruno” was bound to be something: brilliant or horrifying was yet to be determined, but definitely something.
Similar to 2006’s “Borat” Bruno is an outsider looking to understand America. Except here he is the most popular fashionista in any German-speaking country (except Germany) who has a major fashion faux pas and is “out” from the Austrian fashion ciruit”¦ and then goes to the States (and from there to the Middle East) to become a big-time American celeb.
Written by: Sacha Baron Cohen and Anthony Hines
Starring: Sacha Baron Cohen
Running time: 83 mins
Seen at: Boston Common Loews
What goes on behind the scenes during Cohen’s films only the production crew (and Special Features once “Bruno” hits DVDs) will know, but parts of “Bruno” were clearly scripted. After the controversy of “Borat” from people who said they didn’t know what they were being filmed for, it seems a given that “Bruno” would have had to take a different approach.
But realizing some scenes were scripted didn’t detract from the humor of “Bruno;” in fact, it almost made the film funnier. It created a cohesive story that “Borat” lacked: instead of just being a road movie, it had a beginning, middle and end, and satisfactory ones at that. Undoubtedly this is the best film Cohen has created.
Don’t be misled by R-rated movies that border on PG-13 content: “Bruno” is not a movie to bring the kids to. Making “Borat” look tame in comparison, “Bruno” has more penis shots than a porno and “Watchmen” combined. But what is most bizarre about Cohen’s affinity for male genitalia in his films is that it’s funny. Unbearable at times, yes, but almost tasteful in its usage.
What’s most surprising about “Bruno” is that, despite its often offensive content, it is still incredibly funny. It continued the political commentary begun in Cohen’s “Da Ali G Show” which continued through “Borat” showing exactly how ignorant and appalling Americans can act. But the commentary was second to the story (although it can be argued the story is a commentary in itself) and that’s what makes it a strong film and undoubtedly one of the funniest films to come out of this year.