‘Brüno’ elicits un-closeted laughter
summit daily news
“Brüno” is a whimsical satire film sure to fill theaters with merry laughter and cackles of repugnance.
It’s a sexual soiree where intolerance is amusing and observers are forced to face stuff that doesn’t come up in the average American conversation over beers – because it’s real dirty.
Not long after the opening credits, there’s a risque scene with an altered exercise bike, a champagne bottle and an office chair set up like a slingshot.
But as anyone who enjoyed “Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan” can tell you, this maker of humor is certainly more engaging than the run-of-the-mill summer comedy.
Director Larry Charles (“Religulous,” “Borat,” “Curb Your Enthusiasm”) illuminates the shadows of taboo that other comedians quickly flash across the screen.
The effect – like the scene where a focus group sits down to watch Brüno dance his private parts on a pilot TV show pitch – puts people in stitches.
Friday afternoon’s mixed audience at Skyline Cinema ate it up.
The film’s plot isn’t real cohesive: A flamboyantly gay Austrian fashionista gets booted from
the catwalk and travels America – and even the Middle East – to pursue a film career emulating philanthropic heterosexuals like Bono and George Clooney.
The popularity of “Borat” certainly affected the final product; many of the undercover scenes didn’t make the cut because people recognized Cohen.
Former presidential candidate Ron Paul was not one of them. And neither was Paula Abdul – who sat with Cohen on landscapers posing on all fours (someone forgot the furniture) for an interview cut short by the appearance of a naked man covered in food.
But it’s not all umlauts and body parts.
In the film, parents eager to get their babies into scenes for Brüno’s dangerous über-production nod affirmatively through the interview as he asks whether they’re willing to work with burning phosphorus and dead animals.
Charity for vanity is observed a few times, too.
Beyond all the shenanigans, Cohen is an entertainer. His flamboyantly gay character is extreme parody but believable to many of the unsuspecting subjects he meets along the way: Which was the same joke for “Borat,” the dubiously chauvinistic foreigner.
It’s so gleeful to laugh at the victims, especially at the film’s climax where they’re ready to severely beat or even murder Brüno over his silly shenanigans.
But the ending is, alas, really stupid.
This film has more sexual organs, sexual fetishes and actual sex than any R-rated film in recent memory. So be prepared.
But if you’re going to see this one, do it now, at a theater where you’re part of a crowd. The reaction is part of the fun.
I give “Brüno” four stars out of five: It’s off-beat, it offends
and it even thinks. And above all, there’s no hackneyed attempt to appeal to everyone.
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