Brüno Review
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In 2006, comedian Sacha Baron Cohen offended his way across the country posing as Kazakh reporter Borat. And, apparently, after the lawsuits were all settled, it still made a whole lot of money—so he decided to try it again.

This time, Cohen is Brüno, a flamboyantly gay Austrian fashionista and TV host. After a fashion show disaster (involving a suit made of Velcro) gets him blacklisted in Europe, he decides to move to Los Angeles to become über-famous. With his assistant, Lutz (Gustaf Hammarsten) in tow, he tries everything from hosting his own celebrity talk show to adopting an African child to bringing peace to Middle East. But after facing rejection time and time again, he decides that he’ll never become truly famous in the States unless he can learn to be straight.

  
 
Like Borat, Brüno is part outrageous comedy, part R-rated Candid Camera. As Brüno makes his way around the country, he manages to con all kinds of people into thinking he’s the real deal. He meets with agents and focus groups. He attends a swingers’ party. He interviews Paula Abdul while sitting on Mexican “chair people.” And he does it all while wearing the most outrageous outfits and being as stereotypically, flamboyantly gay as possible.

Brüno does have a few moments of hilarity. My personal favorite is the meeting with a pair of stereotypical blondes who try to help Brüno determine which causes are really “in” this season. There are also plenty of awkward and uncomfortable moments, when you don’t want to laugh but you just can’t help it—because it’s all such a train wreck. Mostly, though, it’s simply obnoxious, repeatedly taking gags that could have been funny (and some that actually are funny…for a while) and beating them to a bloody pulp.

The film’s biggest problem, however, is that it’s simply too one-note. Aside from a few gags that poke fun of the rich and fabulous (and those who want to be), Brüno is just a whole bunch of gay jokes. Brüno spends the entire movie doing all kinds of outrageously flamboyant stuff—from propositioning politicians to dancing around naked—just to see how many people he can offend (or, better yet, make violently angry). It’s not all that funny to begin with—and, after watching it for a while, it’s even less so. Not only that, but it doesn’t seem to have much of an audience—because anyone who’s the least bit homophobic will be absolutely mortified, while others will quickly tire of the ridiculous gay stereotypes.

If you loved the uncomfortable humor of Borat, you’ll find more of the same in Brüno. This time, though, it’s much more over-the-top—and much less entertaining.


DVD Review:
If, after watching Brüno (which, incidentally, clocks in at a mercifully short 82 minutes), you still haven’t had enough, you can find hours of extras on the disc’s special features menu. In addition to an audio commentary, there are also 19 extended/alternate/deleted scenes (including the deleted scene with LaToya Jackson, who’s perfectly comfortable doing what Paula Abdul wouldn’t).

But the most entertaining extra—and maybe the most entertaining thing on the entire disc (including the main feature)—is the interview with agent Lloyd Robinson, who recounts his strange encounters with Brüno. He has a great sense of humor about the film—and his involvement in it—and his upbeat attitude (not to mention his folksy personality) makes the feature a must-watch.

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