Brüno review – not funny – not entertaining – stupidly short!
You couldn’t argue that Sacha Baron Cohen is an excellent method actor. Staying in character as various people try to lynch him is something the majority of us couldn’t do. He showed us that his characters (which include Borat and Ali G) can hold a mirror up to society and show us our prejudices.
In the 2006 Box-Office hit (Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan) Cohen introduced us to the title character who managed to focus on the prejudices with regards to anti-Semitism. You’d think then that all he had to do with Brüno is to focus on homophobia in a modern world by interviewing people across America. Brüno should have been an easily made film as it was done before. Sadly they ruined the experience by trying to make a plot!
Sacha Baron Cohen plays Brüno; an overt Austrian homosexual desperately wanting to become famous at all costs.
Despite certain impressions the reviews on this site can give, I am far from being a prude. Perhaps I find base-level humour beneath me on occasions, but I (like most of the people in the world) laughed my backside off when Borat was released. That being said I was hoping for great things from Brüno. As far as laughs are concerned though, Brüno was somewhat lacking.
What it had instead was a lot of penis gags. In fact I wouldn’t go so far as to call them “gags” as that would imply these scenes were funny. They were not. In the (thankfully) extremely short runtime of Brüno, I laughed approximately 3 times. These weren’t belly laughs either. They were slight amusement at the reactions of some of the interviewees. If Brüno had been one interview after another I could perhaps see the point in it, but sadly some idiot decided to try and make a plot!
The “plot” consists of Brüno being fired which takes up 15 minutes of valuable screen time whilst various plastic objects enter him anally, he upsets a fashion show and encourages some nobody to flash his pubic hair onscreen as he promotes a TV Channel (This is not exactly Twelfth Night). For no reason whatsoever Brüno decides he wants to be famous and goes to Los Angeles in an attempt to start an interview show and become known. Why did anyone bother with this crap? Wouldn’t it have been better to introduce the character as fast as possible and go round interviewing people? In fact if the audience had been offered an insight into the preparation involved for making these characters it would have been a lot more interesting.
These films are all about the interactions with “normal” people and their responses to unusual behaviour from some “foreigner”. Unfortunately the interactivity was lost somewhat in place of unnecessary scenes with Brüno and his ever faithful assistant Lutz. The Shock factor is put in place instead and it does so on many occasions. I can’t imagine anyone finding this puerile nonsense entertaining.
The whole film feels like a 30 minute episode stretched out to fit a film. I don’t know about you but when I pay £8 / $13 to see a movie then I expect a little more of a runtime than approximately 75 minutes). The trailers and advertisements beforehand lasted almost half of the length of the film! Surely, during the production of Brüno, Sacha Baron Cohen and Larry Charles realised they are flogging a long-dead horse! Leave it alone you two! It’s dead already! The scenes you will laugh at are likely to be the scenes you’ve already seen on the trailers. Even Paula Abdul sitting on a Mexican’s back whilst talking about her humanitarian work isn’t as funny as it should have been.
There was a time when Cohen would make sure a substandard interview was kept on the cutting room floor but it seems like he’ll take any sort of filler.
More filling is to be found in the most obvious stooges throughout the film. In Borat you managed to forget there was a camera, giving the film a more real edge. In Brüno the camera is part of the “action” and you wonder why. When I go and see a film, I want to forget I am looking through the eyes of the cameraman. They shouldn’t be part of the equation!
When you do finally get some names onscreen, you are impressed that Cohen can convince them to act a fool on camera but it still isn’t amusing. Brüno claims to be a comedy and manages to do everything but! Even if you like this film, you will still feel cheated because of how short it is. I understand that a scene with Latoya Jackson was cut out due to the death of her brother in recent times, but that still shouldn’t reduce the time to a laughable length!
To quote the film itself “it was worse than cancer”. Brüno is likely to appeal to teenage-minded individuals who are incapable of understanding humour beyond the sight of a dancing penis! This was so painfully unfunny that I am bewildered as to why anyone is rating it so high! None of the original charm of Borat could be witnessed and we can only hope that if Cohen does try for this type of film again, he focuses on the interviews.
Rating: 1 out of 5