First Published 7-13-09
I went to see Bruno yesterday, because I loved Borat. A lot. Beneath the crass exterior of that movie was an intelligently satirical comedy about America and how foreigners view our (lack of) culture. For Bruno, I was hoping for more of the same. I buy my ticket at the box office, slightly appalled by the idea that I could have bought an eight ball of cocaine for the same price as admission (and as I would have found out later, probably would have had a better time), grab a drink, and settle into what I thought was the right theater to view my movie.
Something went wrong.
Somehow, curse to my luck, I decided to see Bruno at the same theater, on the same day, at the same time they aired a gay porno on a different screen. And I had accidentally walked into that theater. I saw things that even someone born into the internet can’t unsee. Champagne bottles up the asses of midgets, a pantomime blowjob in gross detail, a bicycle powered piston dildo, and worst of all… Dancing dicks with talking urethras. At that point in time, the only bright side I could see to my evening was that I didn’t buy any snacks, because I would have vomited them out all over my own lap and the laps of those around me. The time I didn’t spend throwing up led me to the most startling discovery of them all: I wasn’t in a theater porno mix up, I really was seeing Bruno!
Once I realized I wasn’t the victim of a cruel joke, I found myself relatively able to enjoy the movie. If you can get over constant and unflattering full frontal male nudity (if you liked Jackass Two), beneath it is a decent comedy. Whereas Borat made fun of middle and lower class America, Bruno raises the stakes in that it makes fun of the social elite. Euro fashion, Hollywood bullshit, and more Hollywood bullshit. In Borat, the titular character ensnares unsuspecting working class people into sharp satire, making an ass out of them. Bruno, on the other hand, doesn’t make an ass out of Hollywood, he just records Hollywood making an ass of themselves. It exposes stage parents who will do anything so their baby will get face time, even putting them in physical danger to gratify the fact that maybe the parent isn’t a worthless, self centered whore if their baby, who doesn’t even know what fame is, let alone be able to enjoy it, is worth anything. It blasts the absurd Eurotrash fashion trends, talking about how oh-so hard it is to be a super model who has to not only walk down a runway, but TURN and walk back as well. Those poor girls! The scene where Bruno wears the “jewel” of his wardrobe – A Velcro suit – strikes a comedic home run in the absurdity of the “function versus fashion” department. It even mocks big name actors and actresses who adopt poor African children and use them as accessories to their own fame, as objects to decorate, and as a cheap PC way to boost their media coverage. Take that, Bradjolina! Bruno, and his faithful gay assistant Lutz, do all of this in his movie-spanning quest to become world famous, and his side journey to become straight.
All of the keen criticism I just mentioned, however, is unfortunately blocked from easy notice by a towering wall of dicks. There are dildos everywhere, and the nude scenes are just too graphic. I am not a homophobe, I just don’t happen to be a cock-craving sex fiend. There is a fine line between tasteful and tasteless, and Bruno scored a long jump world record in crossing that line. There is an overabundance of dick in the 90 minute film, and while a good amount of it is mercifully censored, if Sacha Baron Cohen wants you to see his member, by golly he will show if to you. As stated earlier, not much disturbs me but the testi-fest was a bit too much for my tastes. It’s like they just tried so hard (get it?) to jam as much ballsack into your eye sockets as possible.
Another social statement that I found interesting in this movie is that it was the perfect opportunity to rally for gay rights, but does everything in its power to do otherwise. If taken as a serious window to the gay community, which is probably shouldn’t be, it shows a perverted and depraved way of life that I am surprised didn’t draw lots of bad PR from gay activists. Of course, you already know how I feel about gay people, but either way, I’m just pointing out that imitation is not a form of flattery in this case.
Bottom line: It’s more over-the-top than it is witty, it is more crude than it is funny, there are more cheap shocks than there are smarts. I definitely won’t own it when it comes out on DVD (I bought Borat the day it came out), I regret having to spend $9.50 to see it. It’s funny, but not quite funny enough to justify the other content. Furthermore, I can’t wait to hear all of the half-witted high schoolers try their hand at impersonating Bruno over and over and over and over for the next three or four years and not being funny at all in the process. It happened when Borat came out, every self-esteem lacking teenager suddenly developed a horrible and crude Eastern European accent. They might as well have worn a “Punch Me In The Face” sign and saved me the trouble of having to actually talk to them to find out they were stupid. Fuck, I still know people who do that stupid accent from time to time. It’s gotten as bad as saying “I’m Rick James Bitch.” News Flash: Dave Chappelle quit doing comedy because of people like you. He halted the show because he realized that all of his fans were hollow pop-culture guzzling retards. So brace yourselves and load your guns, because now every moron in the country is going to be gay and Austrian in diction for the next few years. I don’t know if I consider it annoying to my superior intellect, or an easy way to sort out which people need a healthy dose of Social Darwinism in the form of a 12 gauge buck. It’s probably both. If you are still interested in seeing it, wait for it on video, or better yet, bootleg it, just to piss off the MPAA. Either way, bring plenty of soap along with you, because you will probably feel dirty after watching it.