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Thursday, July 16, 2009

BRUNO

By D.E.Levine

Director: Larry Charles
Writers: Sacha Baron Cohen, Anthony Hines, Dan Mazur and Jeff Schaffer (screenplay)
Sacha Baron Cohen, Peter Baynham, Anthony Hines, Dan Mazur (story)
Producers: Sacha Baron Cohen, Jay Roach, Don Mazur, Monica Levinson
Executive Producer: Anthony Hines
Co-producers: Jon Poll and Todd Shulman
Cast: Sacha Baron Cohen, Gustaf Hammarsten, Clifford Bnagate, Chibundu Orukwowu, Chigozie Orukwowu, et al.
Original Music: Erran Baron Cohen
Running Time: 82 Minutes
Country of Origin: USA
Language: English, German
Genre: Comedy

Sticking with his format of creating an original character and then writing a story and script around that character, Sacha Baron Cohen has created Bruno, a gay Austrian fashion model who becomes persona non grata in the fashion world and sets out to become famous in Hollywood.

Just as Borat was offensive to some people, Bruno is equally offensive to others. Using his well known formula for presenting ordinary peoples' reactions to the character's numerous incitements, Bruno is undeniably hilarious.

Drawn to Hollywood to become a star, Bruno is not naive. He is politically savvy and relentlessly tweaks the establishments political correctness while keeping a straight face.

Bruno and his Asian boyfriend practice a multitude of sexual permutations, which sets the tone for later sexual bawdiness. All attempts at fame fail as Bruno attempts to launch a celebrity interview show but lacks any sensitivity and affronts the focus group viewing it.

Bruno's pranks are designed to expose people's latent prejudices. But whereas Borat was extremely successful, Bruno is a self-absorbed narcissist seeking only fame and evokes little sympathy or support from the audience.

There are however, several sequences that are so bizarre one doesn't know if they're scripted or for real. Bruno follows in the footsteps of Madonna and Angelina and adopts a black African baby and is then taunted by an all black studio audience. He has incendiary interviews with Israelis and radical Palestinians. Finally, Bruno undergoes a "gay cure" through counseling and a variety of bizarre techniques. At the end he goads a red neck Arkansas crowd into and anti-gay frenzy with a startling outcome.

However, throughout the film we are asking ourselves "are these real or scripted events?" of higher quality than Borat, there are numerous uncredited appearances by celebrities, and we may never know whether they agreed to their scenes or were captured without a script.