Bruno Review

Posted: July 25, 2009 in Review
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Bruno Review

2006’s Borat was an undisputed comedy masterpiece, turning society’s prejudices on their heads and forcing us all to ask deep, dark questions of ourselves in between deep, hearty belly laughs. The question, then, is what can Sacha Baron Cohen’s final comic creation offer up?

As it turns out, a hell of a lot. Bruno, despite being the same film as Borat, manages to do, say and be an incredible amount of things all at once. A satire, fish-out-of-water, deeply disturbing look at intolerance, a thoughtful meditation on an unjust society, the film hits every key point with ease.

The film opens with Bruno filming a new series of ‘Funkyzeit’, the most important fashion show in any German-speaking language (apart from Germany). Following a disastrous accident on the catwalk, Bruno is dropped by the network and then his lover, setting off a chain of events that see the gayest man in Austria travelling to Los Angeles to make his name as a star.

The action is far more frenetic that the more considered Borat with the action skipping along at break-neck speed from one cringe-worthy encounter to another – part of the reason is because people are so quick to be offended and Cohen so eager to press their buttons. But Cohen never loses sight of what he aims to achieve – from getting a model to admit that walking is the hardest job in the world, to getting Paula Abdul to discuss her humanitarian work whilst sitting on the back of a Mexican to practising sex positions fully clothed with another giggling male, he once again manages to use his apparent lack of culture to penetrate people’s defences and reveal themselves for the monsters they truly are. Even if it means getting chased down the street in Israel by Orthodox Jews for ‘gaying up’ their outfit.

Bruno himself is a strange beast. The writers have clearly been working overtime on making him a likeable character – a far harder job than his misunderstood Kazakhstan counterpart – but they have managed to turn out a fairly decent bloke. Bruno manages to be simultaneously egotistical, vulnerable and always devastatingly deluded. The only real flaw with his character is that he is sometimes slightly too offensive and inappropriate – the simulated blowjob scene, for instance, would have been far funnier if it was performed in front of more people than just one slightly bemused psychic.

The other problems in the film are few. There are a lot more scripted sequences than in Borat, with even some of the interviews at the start of the film feeling empty and even staged. As mentioned in the second paragraph, the film is the same as Borat, right down to the comic foil accomplice of Bruno’s (swap Azamat for Lutz and reprint the script), which is disappointing.

Having said that, though, Bruno is another solid-gold comedy film. Just as funny, if not more consistently so, twice as dark and a thousand times more profound and disturbing, Bruno is an utterly unmissable treat.

4 stars


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