Bruno Blu-ray Review
I saw Borat, and Bruno, you're no Borat...
In Bruno, Sacha Baron Cohen attempts to recreate the success of Borat by sticking to the same formula. This time out the fish out of water is a gay Austrian fashion reporter instead of a Kazakhstani reporter, but the interview-driven documentary format remains the same. The differences between the films appear to be relatively minor but there is one big difference; Borat is a far better film than Bruno.
Bruno starts off well enough, with Cohen getting people in the fashion industry to let their guard down as they walk willingly into the traps he sets. Watching a model complain about how difficult her work is and that she's in therapy because she's too beautiful is hilarious, while watching her give words of encouragement to kids in Africa who can't afford designer clothing is just plain sad. When he moves on to Hollywood he does a great job of skewering stage parents and charity consultants ("Darfive" is the next Darfur), but then things begin to fall apart. It's as if Cohen had about twenty minutes of material and then ran out of ideas, filling the film's remaining hour with a series of stunts far more crude than they are funny. In Borat it was surprising to see the level of idiocy in the people he interviewed and it was interesting to watch Cohen subtlety set the stage for these people to make fools of themselves. In Bruno, people react to Cohen in pretty much the way that you would expect them to in such a situation. When he appears on a talk show with a predominantly black audience and reveals that he has an adopted black baby named OJ and shows off pictures of the baby at a gay hot tub orgy, the audience reacts with shock and indignation. Well, the only surprise here would have been if the audience was not shocked. In another scene he is chained to his assistant on a hotel bed wearing leather fetish gear. When he calls the front desk for help and then complains to the manager that he accidently ordered a pay-per-view movie because the remote was stuck in his posterior, the manager reacts quite professionally and refuses to be baited by Cohen. In another scene, Bruno shows a test screening panel a pilot TV show that ends with Bruno swinging his privates around in full view. Guess what? The panel thought the show was garbage and a woman walked out of the room. How are these reactions supposed to be funny?
Even when he targets the same sort of people that he did in Borat, Cohen falls miserably short. On a camping trip with a group of rednecks, the best thing that he can come up with is to show up naked at their tents with a handful of condoms. It doesn't take a redneck to kick someone out of their tent under those circumstances. And in a visit to a white supremacist's home for a faux interview, the best he can come up with is to take his pants off and get into a yelling match with his lover. The supremacist calmly calls 911 to request that the police remove Cohen from his home. Cohen's the one who comes out of that looking like a jerk, while the supremacist comes across as a nice guy victim when he should have been easy pickings. If I wanted to watch a movie that made Nazis look like nice guys, I'd be watching Triumph of the Will instead. Thanks for the letdown, Cohen...
This release of Bruno is a rare case in which the special features outshine the movie. The deleted scenes contain a number of scenes and interviews conducted during the early parts of the film set in the world of fashion and Hollywood. Some of these are genuinely humorous, and you wonder why Cohen just didn't stick with this theme for the entire film. Also, if you're interested in hearing how Cohen came up with some of his ideas for the film, there's a feature on that. Lastly, you can transfer a digital copy of the film to your PC or iPod so that you can be bored by Bruno while travelling as well as while at home.
Transmitted: 2/1/2015 2:07:10 PM