Monday, July 27, 2009

The Return of Brüno

So now Sascha Baron Cohen has made movies with all 3 of his characters from Da Ali G Show and has to come up with something new. This is the second best of the trio- Ali G Indahouse was pretty boring- but despite the high hit ratio of laughs, it's a bit scattershot and resembles the Borat movie a bit too much. Does it suck? Not in my opinion. If you liked Borat, you'll like Brüno, unless you're homophobic, or easily offended by gay stereotypes.
If you're not familiar with Brüno, he's supposed to be a flamboyantly gay Austrian fashionista who declares who's "in" and who's "straight to Auschwitz" on his TV show. For the movie, he falls from grace by wearing a Velcro outfit to a catwalk and causing disaster. He is "out," and flees to America to seek stardom with Lutz, his assistant's assistant, who is infatuated with him. In Borat, his sidekick was funny in his own right; Lutz plays the starstruck lackey well but he can't hold a shot on his own. That's one minor flaw.
Sascha Baron Cohen is very good at pranks, and he plays a few good ones here. Brüno adopts an African baby to be more like Madonna and "Brangelina," by trading an iPod for a cute kid. Then he takes him on the Richard Bey show before a mostly black audience to say he's gay, he's adopted a black baby, and named him "a traditional African-American name,"-- O.J. The audience reacts as you might expect. Another great prank is his cage fighting arena where he grows a Lemmy mustache and calls himself "Straight Dave," and ends up making out and stripping with his opponent before a stadium full of rednecks expecting pro wrestling. They throw chairs at the gay men, but they also don't leave or stop watching. Nearly as suicidal, he calls Osama bin Laden "a dirty wizard who looks like a homeless Santa" to a real live terrorist leader. Cohen, I salute you. Your balls rival Stephen Colbert's. Nearly as brave: he dresses like a Hasidic Jew, except for the hot pants, in an Orthodox section of Israel, and gets chased out. He goes hunting with a bunch of guys in Alabama, and tries to enter a guy's tent while nude. He crashes a swinger's party and comes on to guys as they pork away in a wife-swapping party. The man is insane.
Yes, he makes you very uncomfortable and not all the gags work. He pranks Ron Paul, mistaking him for Ru Paul, and strips in front of him in a hotel room. This pissed off a lot of bloggers. I think Ron Paul is a bit of a loon but I respect his strict constitutionalism and don't think he deserved this. Any more than Charlton Heston, dying of Alzheimer's, deserved Michael Moore's attack in Bowling for Columbine. As much as that fat fuck has redeemed himself with Sicko, I'll never forgive him for ambushing a man with dementia. And Cohen should have went after an anti-gay politician like Rick Santorum instead of Ron Paul if he wanted to have real effect. Even if he went after a hypocrite like one of the Republican parties many gay sex scandal exiles, it would have been better.
I can't deny that I laughed a lot. Before I saw it, I read many reviews where people found his schtick passé, or even damaging to gay rights by promoting stereotypes. But let's face it, the people who hate gays don't care if they're the utterly polite, über-neat and trendy stereotype who gentrify neighborhoods so the yuppies can kick out the po' folks, or the guys who dress like the Village People and ride their motorcycles in pride parades. In the big picture, does Brüno matter to gay rights? Is some California jerkoff going to watch this and see a Sexercycle with a dildo attachment and decide to vote against gay marriage? I don't think it's going to change anyone's mind. As satire, Brüno works a lot better as he points at how celebrity-obsessed Americans are. In one scene, he asks parents who are pimping their children as actors if they'll allow liposuction, crucifixion, or if the kid will dress as Hitler pushing Jew babies in a wheelbarrow. They all say yes. They'll allow anything if their kid will be in a music video. It's terrifying, and you almost see Cohen break character as they surprise even him with the depravity they'll subject their children to. Things even Brüno, who rides with a baby on the handlebars of a Vespa, won't do.

Rating: 3.5 talking weenuses out of 5

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