Sunday, August 9, 2009


So what is this one about?
Unless you have been living under a rock, you will know that
Flamboyantly gay Austrian television reporter Bruno (Sacha Baron Cohen) stirs up trouble with unsuspecting guests and large crowds through brutally frank interviews and painfully hilarious public displays of homosexuality. An incredible chameleon who completely disappears behind his flaming alter ego, the bold Baron Cohen serves up nonstop laughs in this comedy by successfully rubbing people the wrong way.
And can I just take this moment to point out the fact that the tagline for this movie on the poster is "Borat was so 2006" I will refer to that gem a bit later.

And how much did I pay to watch?
Interestingly enough, I didn't end up paying anything for this one. I am not quite sure why that happened, but I can tell you how it might have. Mike, his girlfriend Lucy, and I were at a party eating yak burgers--yes, like hamburgers, but make out of yak--and we decided we should go see Bruno. Lucy, or Mike, ordered the tickets online, and then when I offered to pay for mine no one would accept my money. I think it evened out because I bought snacks for the three of us. So, essentially, I paid $0 to watch this.

And it was about worth that much.

And what did I think?
Now, maybe this is just the Eurasia-ist in me, but I find it way more ok to make fun of people from Central Asia (I mean, really, it is funny... right?) than I do to stereotype and make fun of gay people. Of course I absolutely realize that Sasha Baron Cohen was probably pointing out that there are idiots in the US who do think that all gay men (specifically) are exactly like Bruno, but I think it wasn't really clear that he was satirizing anything.

Another issue I had with Bruno over Borat was that it seemed SO fake and staged. Who doesn't know who SBC is now, and that Bruno is another one of his characters? The wikipedia article helps to confirm this a little. The entry goes into how SBC was able to pull off some of the "stunts" that were in the movie. For example,
On November 7, while appearing as an extra in a scene for the NBC TV series Medium, Baron Cohen interrupted a scene in character and was removed from the set. Production on the episode was shut down temporarily,[16] though actor Miguel Sandoval, who was told that a cousin of NBC executive Ben Silverman would appear as an extra in the jury, has stated that he recognized Cohen and played along, commenting, "It's one thing for Borat to go into an antique store in Georgia or Alabama. For Brüno to go on a TV show, he's among insiders. Most people knew who he was."[17]
Exactly. Leave it up to NBC to not be total idiots. I mean, I guess I realize that the whole thing is fake, but it was just SO obvious that SBC had somehow tricked everyone into participating. And the tricks weren't really the harmless/funny ones that were in Borat. Borat is a good character because he is unintentionally ignorant (a sort of Kazakh Michael Scott) whereas Bruno is a total asshole on purpose who has very few redeeming qualities (more like an Austrian David Brent). [Do you see what I did there? Aren't you impressed?]

The movie existed for shock value only. Everyone in the audience gasped at the same parts...or let me rephrase, some people were laughing hysterically at the parts that I was gasping at. I will give SBC credit for one part that I thought was hilarous. That was the part with Ron Paul. For your convenience--I say that, because I don't think there is really much of a reason to see this one for yourself--here is what happened.
The production team also deceived former presidential candidate Ron Paul into being interviewed by Brüno by posing as an Austrian TV reporter looking to question the congressman about economic issues. According to sources at Slate magazine, the interview starts out normally, but after a staged technical error, Brüno suggests he and Dr. Paul wait in the other room while the crew fixes a light. It is there that Brüno turns on music and begins dancing, which Ron Paul ignores at first. However, as soon as Brüno drops his trousers, the congressman storms out of the room. A spokeswoman for Paul commented on the incident. She said Baron Cohen's people were very deceptive in their tactics. At the time, she thought they were "legitimate" but later confessed to some concern. "I'm familiar with his work, so you can imagine how I feel about it," she said. Jesse Benton, senior vice-president of Ron Paul's Campaign for Liberty organization and former campaign spokesman for Paul, said Paul was not familiar with Baron Cohen's program, Da Ali G Show. "If it's not on hard-core financial news, he doesn't follow it," Benton said. But, he added, "It sounds like it's going to be pretty funny."[18]
Man, what a d-bag!

I also recommend that you check out the wikipedia article (hotlinked to the title of this entry) to see how he pulled off some of the other things in this movie, like the talk show, the army, and the gay cage match. It was quite illuminating.

Finally, to show what sort of animosity can come about from talking about Bruno (though, if you've seen it, you should totally comment and we'll get a little forum action going) please refer to an entry on the Bob and Abe Show blog. (boys, did you like that plug?) You will see yours truly, and a friend of a friend--Augustin--getting into a brawl, even though I was being highly sarcastic the whole time. Here you go.

So that just proves it, doesn't it. Even if you don't like the things that Sasha Baron Cohen does, everyone still talks about them. I guess that means he is a pretty good 'entertainer'.

So what is the rating? (out of 10)
Personally, I guess I just found the movie fairly offensive, though i don't really care. I mean, if people found it funny, that is ok. But I didn't really like it.



Lori said...

i DID love what you did with the david brent/ michael scott trick. you are just so darn smart.

thanks for linking bob and abe's show, the bob and abe show.

i don't like the idea of someone being mean to ron paul. he reminds me so much of my grandfather, a guy who is just so sweet and well meaning and old, that i can't really see him in any other light, including that of President of the United States.

call me later.

Helen Abba said...

i really liked Bruno, i went to see it with my sister and my dad and we couldnt stop laughing. it reminded us of so many flamboyant europeans over here lol. i guess parts are fairly offensive but its so funny cause it throws people back in their face for entertainment. and most people in the movie bring it on by the way they act. i dont know what the overall opinion is of Bruno but in the screen i was in it was very well recieved x

this is not a joke said...

Helen, practically everyone in the theatre was losing their shit. They thought the movie was hilarious! I don't think you're on your own in liking it and thinking it was funny, for me though, it just left a bad taste in my mouth.