The story follows Brüno as he travels to America to try and become the biggest gay star or celebrity ever in any way possible. There is only one other character along for the ride and that is his assistant 'Lutz' who was created for this film. So the plot has a familiar core in that once again Cohen's absurd character is travelling to the States to basically humiliate himself in any way he can...unknowingly on purpose.
This film is exactly the same as Borat's film in structure and execution basically, both characters follow their TV roots as we see familiar setups in various locations. Brüno is mainly set in and around LA, I think, as we see him attempting to become the latest hot thing on the scene. As you would expect much of this consists of hugely embarrassing and awkward scenes where he tries to make his own chat show pilot and gets upset at the focus group reviewing it, interviewing and trying to seduce an American politician (Ron Paul) who angrily storms off after Brüno takes his pants down in front of him and a fantastically funny scene where Brüno visits a spiritualist and mimes performing oral sex on a dead gay ex-lover.
But wait there's more, Cohen takes it even further this time as his character adopts a black baby and goes on an American TV show which just happens to be full of African Americans. He then exposes parents of child models by asking what they are willing to allow their kids to do for a gig, unbelievably these parents will seemingly allow their kids to do anything as long as they get the gig! Nazi uniforms anyone?. Of course this being the wild US Cohen can't resist the old deadly trio so easily found in America...homophobia, racism and American jingoism or extreme patriotism, and Cohen goes for the throat.
Its so easy to offend someone in the US with homosexuality...especially when two half naked men are trapped together in bondage and roaming the streets. Then again going to Christian faith gay converters and trying to chat them up won't help you're case much either, neither will going on a hunt with a bunch of redneck hicks and sexually harassing them whilst flirting with one of them. The best bit has to be the cage fight match where Brüno and Lutz face off against each other but end up making out in front of an enraged southern redneck crowd! Makes you wonder how they got out of there alive.
But wait, there's even more!! not only does Cohen upset the Yanks he also flies to Jerusalem to upset his own people! The sight of all these religious folks faces as Brüno swans around in his revealing camp attire is hilarious and the moment he is chased down the road by some Hasidic Jews (or very touchy religious Jewish folk at least) is mind boggling. How much of these sketches are real is difficult to tell in all honesty, whilst in the Middle East Cohen's character supposedly upsets a Mossad agent and a Palestinian terrorist leader (asking to be kidnapped!) which you'd think could be a very dangerous thing to do in reality. So it does beg the question was it real or setup? you kinda get the impression it wasn't quite as genuine as the US based stuff.
As you all know the character of Brüno is homosexual (did you notice?) so the film heavily features a lot of homosexual jokes, visual gags and naturally the obligatory bits of nudity. Where as in some countries like the UK you could probably get away with much of this stuff as the general public would probably just laugh at it, in the US its very different and Cohen knows it. Manipulating Americans seems to be Cohen's forte and he does it so well.
I think this film is probably the best out of the three personally, its much more riskier and certainly more in your face with all the homosexual references (full on cock n balls in your face actually). Many of the sequences are very funny, very offensive, very clever and very daring...we all know Cohen has balls of steel. As with all of Cohen's work its not gonna be everyone's cup of tea that's for sure, if you didn't enjoy Borat then this isn't gonna change your mind about Cohen. The film can come across as more homophobic than anything at times, so it depends on whether people can look past that. On the other hand if you liked Borat (and to a lesser extent Ali G) then this is you're lucky day as this is bigger bolder and badder than ever before.
"Borat was so 2006."
I have a sort of love, hate thing going on with Bruno. At one glance, there's enough brilliant social commentary to make up for how over the top and downright disgusting at times, the film is sexually. Dildo machines, gerbils, everything can be shoved up there according to Bruno and it's all just a little too much. Like I said though, some of the social commentary is really well done.
Bruno is a fashion show host in his native Austria. After destroying a runway show, he gets fired and heads to the United States to become uber-famous. He tries his luck with acting, with hosting, with sex tapes, and nothing works. He's a lost, gay, Austrian in America trying to find his niche. The plot is extremely thin, but it gives a lot of room to fuck with known people like Ron Paul and Paula Abdul.
There's a couple of scenes that actually had some brilliance behind them even though you may not realize it at the time. The scene where Bruno talks to Paula Abdul about her humanitarian efforts is simply hilarious and fantastic. Another high point was when Bruno was interviewing parents for their kids getting parts in whatever it was that he was doing. He would ask them if their children were comfortable around the most ludicrous stuff like burning phosphorous and then we would soon hear the parents answer back, "Yes."
This may not be the most civilized movie out there. I can't argue that it's all a bit much, but there's something to take away from it all. Apart from that, Sacha Baren Cohen is a pretty funny guy that can make some of the most ridiculous characters come to life. I'm not saying his characters are what we need to see, but there's some fun to be hand with the utter ridiculousness of every detail of his characters.
Sacha Baron Cohen's previous film, 'Borat', was one of the funniest movies back in '06. Critics and viewers liked the film and one of the reason why it was so popular was due to its offbeat humor. Conservative Americans were slaped in the face way many times and it worked brilliantly. 'Bruno' tries to copy the success of 'Borat' with an almost similar storyline, style etc, but I'm not that sure if it worked...
So what's funny about an Austrian fashion reporter that happens to be "totally" gay? Not that much. There was a couple of scenes that made me laugh but while I was watching the movie, it reminded me constantly of 'Borat' so much that it started to annoy me a little. But watching a politician, Ron Paul (former candidate for presidency) getting in a awkward situation is always worth a look. And King Osama... Works.
'Bruno' is a very uneven film that delivers some occasional laughs (Harrison Ford's "Fuck off!") but fails to gain the same success as Sacha Baron Cohen's previous works. I even enjoyed 'Ali G' more than this movie! I've never known that much about this character before and I guess this movie was made because of 'Borat's' success. Didn't work for me.
The thing about it is that Bruno is not the work of genius some people believe it to be. Now I loved Borat, but the problem with Bruno is that it's basically recycling the Borat formula with another character. The trouble this time is that, like Mike Meyer's Scottish accent, it's been done before. Bruno does have its funny moments and its shocking moments (jaws were agape from the people I watched this with) but it really drags in certain places- and this is a short movie.
Bruno is about shock value. Yes, it shocks. It also fails to live up to the expectations the audiences has after seeing Borat. Of course seeing Slash in this boosts its stars.