Is “Bruno” a masterpiece or the decline of Western civilization?

0 Submitted by on Fri, 10 July 2009, 07:01

By Sandra Kraisirideja

In “Bruno,” British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen exposes the outrageous behavior of everyday people by posing as a gay fashion journalist from Austria named Bruno.

“Bruno” is Baron Cohen’s follow-up to “Borat,” which was also based on a character he created for his TV show, “Da Ali G Show.” Bruno is equally as outlandish a character as Borat, and he behaves just as offensively without a clue to what he’s doing.

The movie is rated R and is definitely inappropriate for children and teenagers. You would have to rent homosexual porn in order to see more male penis than was in this movie. Another segment has Bruno at a swingers party, which quickly becomes amateur porn night with participants performing sexual acts on camera, with small, black boxes hiding the goods.

What’s most striking about Bruno is that his behavior, no matter how ridiculous, is done as a character. Baron Cohen is acting when he appears as Bruno. The responses and reactions he gets from those in the movie, however, are real. When Ron Paul storms out of a hotel room–after Bruno’s tries unsuccessfully to seduce him for a sex tape-calling Bruno a queer and yelling about how he tried to hit on him, the former presidential candidate’s anger is palpable. It begs the question, whose behavior is worse?

“Bruno” works best when Baron Cohen is revealing how poorly people behave around the issue of homosexuality and the extent of what they will do to be on camera. At one point Bruno holds auditions for a baby photo shoot. His idea is to have his baby son-newly adopted from Africa in an apparent swap for an iPod-on a crucifix with other babies below posing as Romans.

In the interview process Bruno asks the parents a series of questions to ascertain what the parent will and won’t allow their child to do, revealing the blind ambition some parents display when taking their kids on auditions.

The responses are horrifying as parent after parent agrees to all manner of unpleasant situations that would be OK for their child. One woman agrees that she would take her baby girl for liposuction if it was needed to help her lose 10 pounds. (The girl in question weighed 30 pounds, but Bruno needed her to weigh 20). Another mother casually agrees that it’s not necessary for her child to be in a car seat when traveling.

As a social experiment, “Bruno” is fascinating to watch. Unfortunately, the people who really need to see it will avoid it like the plague.

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