Brüno – movie review

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Brüno is a provocative and confrontational work of cinema, thankfully it also happens to be hilariously funny. Essentially a gay “Borat 2,” Sacha Baron Cohen and his production team revisit the comedic fertile ground of aggravating unsuspecting individuals; this time however, Baron Cohen’s assumed persona is that of “like, totally” uber-gay Austrian fashionista Brüno.

Following a similar outline to his previous film, we follow the lead character in what is essentially a series of sketches wherein naifs are forced to question their preconceptions until they burst. To Brüno, everyone is fair game – celebrities, TV studio audiences, senators, PR agents, swingers, rednecks, and even Islamic terrorists.

Unquestionably, this is a far more extreme outing than Borat’s, and most audiences will be watching through their hands or flinching from some of the more shocking sights on display. However, the same weaknesses the occasionally plagued Borat are also on show here – numerous bridging scenes that purport to be genuine are clearly anything but; the contrived “funny foreign accent” inflections become a mite too repetitive; and the “storyline” is merely a frame upon which to hang the various awkward encounters. Jokes about fellow Austrians Hitler and Schwarzennegger are perhaps over-done too. These quibbles over plot or continuity soon fall to the wayside however, as the set-piece stunts are genuinely breathtaking, both in their intensity and context. Having lost the anonymity that was afforded him with Borat, Baron Cohen clearly has had to work harder to not be recognised this time round, and yet his new-found celebrity status is cleverly integrated with some well placed A-list cameos.

Brüno may be “harder” than Borat (if you’ll excuse the pun), but overall somehow suffers from an element of déjà-vu. Sacha Baron Cohen is clearly a master of bad taste, a very brave and unique comedic voice, and he should be applauded for his achievements & dedication to his work. That being said, the brisk running time of 80mins was more than long enough to make a lasting impression, and perhaps a signal for England’s most successful comedian to move onto pastures new.


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