By Marco Chacon

Nov 19, 2009 05:01 PM EST


Brüno DVD Review

Sacha (Noam) Baron Cohen who goes by SBC, usually has his shtick of adopting a fictional persona and then interviewing a real celebrity under false pretenses.  He uses that persona and does things to put them in impossibly embarrassing situations, e.g. coming on to Ron Paul in a homosexual romantic bedroom scene.  In Borat, he did this as a Kazakhstan native (Kazakhstan sued).  In Brüno, he is a flamboyant gay Austrian who is intent on becoming famous by any means necessary.

He attempts to become famous by trying to get close to celebrities in some way, and he mistakes Presidential candidate, Ron Paul, for drag queen, RuPaul, in an attempt to make a career-launching sex-tape.  As these attempts fail, he also goes in and out of love with Lutz (Gustaf Hammarsten), makes an attempt to become straight, and variously humiliates anyone foolish enough to accept an interview with him.

Needless to say, a lot of people find this hilarious.  I listened to an NPR interview with the Brüno crew in which they were asked how they felt about duping people.  The answer from SBC, and I believe his producer, was that they weren't 'really deceiving people because while in the encounter they were so totally immersed in the character that it was as if it were real.  They also felt that they were trying to make a funny movie -- so fair is fair!

I doubt anyone will find these answers very convincing, but they get legal rights to use the people they film and put them on a movie screen against their will.  I do not find it an especially moral way to make a movie, but it can be funny.  I am also torn because people like Ron Paul have to be vigilant against pranksters -- also see Sarah Palin getting as part of a prank on an infamous phone call in which she thought she was talking to Nicholas Sarkozy.  I am more sympathetic to the "normal people" he pulls stunts on -- although they too are responsible for any homophobic stuff that comes out of their mouths.

In the end, Brüno is, if nothing else, almost unique; and it is mainly because of Borat is all I can think of.  It is reasonably funny, however, allegedly some of it is staged, so it leaves you wondering; but then again, a lot of it clearly is not.  The character arc is absurd.  Brüno dumps Lutz claiming carb-goggles.  He had eaten a bunch of carbs so his initial judgment was impaired, but isn't entirely heartless.  Some of it is sketchy but in the end, it holds together pretty well.

If you like SBC, it is a must see.  If you liked Borat, I think the general consensus is that this is not as good, but it is roughly equivalent.  I didn't see Borat so I can't say.  If you just want a comedy – it is as off-beat as they come; and the chance to see real high-profile people squirm has never been better realized.  I am going to give it a B as long as you keep in mind what you are getting into.

After all, the worst thing you can do with SBC is getting caught unaware.
Extras Include:
  • An hour of Alternative, Deleted and Extended Scenes not shown in theaters
  • Enhanced Commentary -- Hear in depth stories for selected scenes from Sacha  Baron Cohen and director Larry Charles.
  • An Interview with Hollywood Agent Lloyd Robinson -- Get the story behind Bruno's real

Purchase your copy of Brüno today at Purchase  On Amazon

Download Brüno from the iTunes Store in Digial HD. download from itunes

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MPAA Rating: R
Running Time: 81 minutes
Distributed By: Universal Pictures

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