Thursday, November 5, 2009

Bruno DVD



DVD Review by Kam Williams


Headline: Bruno DVD Doesn’t Measure Up to Borat


                Borat, a shock comedy chronicling the misadventures of a crass journalist from Kazakhstan as he traveled across the U.S., was, in this critic’s opinion, the funniest film of 2006. Its star, Sacha Baron Cohen, landed an Oscar nomination for writing that faux documentary which employed a controversial bait-and-switch casting style to dupe a series of unsuspecting straight men to unwittingly make absolute fools of themselves.

                Wonders do cease. For Cohen’s is back as Bruno, an aggressively-gay Austrian who comes to America to conquer Hollywood. But where Borat brilliantly employed an experimental approach to guerilla moviemaking, that cinematic innovation already feels played out in this derivative sequel. The film’s fatal flaw rests in the fact that, this time around, virtually all, if not all of the participants were obviously in on the joke.

                This begs the question, if Cohen is not posing as gay here to elicit authentic, homophobic responses to expose bigotry, what exactly is his reason for filling the screen with the feigned reactions of folks pretending to be outraged by Bruno’s flamboyance? Unfortunately, the character’s over the top antics seem designed more to inflame passions and thus encourage gay-bashing than to teach any sorely-needed lessons about tolerance.

 For example, very effeminate Bruno takes an orphan he’s adopted overseas onto a Jerry Springer-ish TV talk show and informs the host that he has given the toddler a traditional African name, “O.J.” In addition, the child is dressed in a shirt emblazoned with the word “Gayby,” suggesting that he plans to raise the boy to be a homosexual. Such a deliberate provocation proves to be red meat for the mostly black audience which predictably erupts into rage.

                Because such scenes seem staged, one has to wonder exactly what emotions they are supposed to evoke, for Bruno is neither funny nor clever, just a terminally-annoying jerk. An over-indulgence in vulgarity of no redeeming social value apt to set back gay-straight relations.


Poor (0 stars)

Rated R for profanity, sexuality, pervasive crude humor and graphic nudity.

Running time: 82 minutes

Studio: Universal Studios Home Entertainment

DVD Extras: An hour of alternative, deleted and extended scenes, enhanced commentary by Sacha Baron Cohen and the director, and an interview with Hollywood agent Lloyd Robinson.

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