Friday, November 27, 2009

Bruno - DVD Review


Starring Sacha Baron Cohen, Paula Abdul and Ron Paul.
Directed by Larry Charles.

I kinda liked Borat, but seeing another prank-style movie just illustrates that Cohen is no Andy Kaufman, a wildly overrated comedian who is only been put on a pedestal because he's dead. I think the key is that Borat was a kind-hearted ignorant protagonist. Bruno is a self-absorbed ignorant jerk, so seeing him intrude into other people's lives just isn't that funny.

Here Cohen is playing Bruno, Austrian gay fashionista who has set his sights on Hollywood to become a big star. More often than not, I wasn't laughing at people's reactions to him, I felt sorry for his victims.

In one spot he got a job as an extra on NBC's Medium. Miguel Sandoval keeps doing serious emotional takes, ruined by Bruno being a distracted juror. I'm not laughing. When he tries to interview Harrison Ford, Ford has one second of screen-time, where he's trying to get away from Bruno and tells him exactly what to do. Good for him. In another scene he tries to seduce Ron Paul. Paul barges out because, dude, he's getting sexually harrassed.

The pieces that amused me: when he has real people serve as a focus group for his new show. Some of the comments: "It was worse than cancer." "It made me want to put my eyes out with hot sticks." "You'll have to borrow the sticks from me."

There's another scene where he's interviewing parents of babies/toddlers to appear on his show, and it's amazing what the parents agree to. "Sure, she's fine with operating heavy machinery."

When he goes to the Middle East, that is when he really puts his life on the line. He comes close to peaceful talks when he gets an ex-Mossad agent and an ex-Hamas leader together, and they both agree that Bruno is an idiot. Sometimes it's like watching a Jason Jones segement on the Daily Show, if Jones thought'd be funny to start molesting his guest.

Most people just suffer through Cohen's antics or run out on him. I think Borat had a better, clearer structure, but it really comes back to the stunts he's pulling and why. I can't tell if he's promoting or satirizing homophobia while simultaneously pointing fingers at the fool who would actually approve of everything he's doing, and I don't really care. I'm just glad there won't be a Bruno 2. No more unsuspecting victims.

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