You win some and you lose some, and then for others you just completely miss the mark. For shock performer (comedian?) Sacha Baron Cohen, Borat was his victory. Bruno turned out to be, well, different, and not in any good ways.


Bruno is an Austrian homosexual fashion icon who falls into disgrace due to a series of unfortunate events in a suit made entirely of Velcro. He decides to move to Los Angeles and become famous. The film follows, somewhat, Bruno’s slapstick attempts at garnering the worldwide fame he desires.

Based off the same character from the ingenious Da Ali G Show, Cohen haphazardly slaps together many skits and awkward situations in a similar style to Borat and his previous successes. The problem is that very few moments in Bruno are actually entertaining – I laughed twice. Bruno’s outfits are of the highest level of absurdity and awesome in their own ways. From cut off suits to the aforementioned Velcro suit, the creativity and humor needed for these clothes is astounding and is the highlight of the film. Unfortunately, these outfits are only central to the film for the first thirty minutes – and a very long thirty minutes at that.

From mimicking fellatio on Milli’s (from Milli Vanilli) spirit to a swingers’ party and everything in between, Cohen brings Bruno’s character to the forefront of every encounter and does not allow the unassuming targets to create the humor that made Borat so great. Bruno goes for the shock value that ends up making Cohen look like an imbecile in front of relatively normal individuals – except everyone’s favorite family. The tension generated by Bruno’s overtly sexual antics starts out amusing, but quickly changes into annoyance for the audience as well as everyone involved. The nudity is gratuitous and continues for much longer than necessary, which puts an emphasis on Cohen’s strained effort to produce laughter.

For some of the film it seems that Cohen’s heart is in the right place by trying to showcase the rampant homophobia of the Deep South, but he does it in such a mocking and obnoxious style that you begin to wonder if these people are against homosexuality, or simply against Bruno (the answer is the former, but for the audience it is most likely different).

These problems are just the tip of the iceberg for Bruno. At eighty-one minutes, Bruno ends abruptly with a large hole of dissatisfaction left open. The film drags on relentlessly and has essentially no point to it. Nothing keeps the film going other than adding more scenes to it.

I am on board for social commentary in the form of crude humor, but there has to be some sort of cohesive message to it. Bruno was simply an ego trip for a man who loves frustrating people.

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