Sacha Baron Cohen's meditation on the absurd nature of celebrity. Though the film is generally much more lowbrow than the above label, it actually does kind of have some sort of reflexivity to that effect. I'm not sure what to think of the movie, though. It's often hilarious in its offensiveness, though some bits seemed rather offensive-for-offensiveness's-sake, and I wasn't sure whether parts of it were even funny. Such, I suppose, is the style that Cohen and Larry Charles have adopted for their films - the crazy barrage of gross-out gags comes with the humor. Actually, the way the TV-show-to-movie transfer is handled is one of the main bothersome aspects of the Bruno film. I love Da Ali G Show immensely. Bruno, I feel, was the weakest character, but he was great for taking swipes at the hypocrisies and vapidity of celebrity and fashion culture. Much of the most successful comedic material in the film reflects that: the talk about Britney Spears's sister's baby, for instance, and the scene with the consultants for taking up humanitarian causes in order to boost one's image (seriously, who were those women? Was their extreme ditziness for real?). I really wanted to see more of Bruno's fashion program; there really should have been a whole scene of the 'In oder aus?' discussion - the horror of seeing issues like autism reduced to simply being either 'in' or passé is the essence of Bruno's humor. Of course, for the movie, though, they need more wild globetrotting fish-out-of-water gags, and lots of shocks. The baby photoshoot is an example of a shock that works well because it's in keeping with what makes Bruno's character work - shameless, horribly offensive mockeries being used for dumb egotistical self-promotion. His TV-show pitch works well too for the same reason. The more lowbrow homophobia exposés are appropriate, too, I guess, because that sort of thing is in character. Many of the other gags feel somewhat worn, though. Bruno playing dumb while interviewing high-up people feels like recycled Ali G material, and the martial-arts scene, to name one, is something that Borat basically did during the show, except here Bruno gives it a gay-themed twist. The scene with the psychic is essentially a retread of an older Bruno sketch that Cohen did for the show, except for the movie he takes it farther (and gets some laughs in doing so). Another problem is that Cohen seems to have reached the point where he's too tired to do this kind of intensive character humor any more. He has far less energy to invest in Bruno now than he did for Borat in that movie. It's time for him to move on to something else; he definitely has enough talent as a comedic actor in order to do that.
When it comes down to it, though, the Bruno film does have enough inventive and funny material to keep it engaging; the filmmakers had the good sense to structure the climax of the plot into a scenario that could be played out in front of a throng of unsuspecting viewers. And the final scene has some big laughs as well. I wish the outrageous humor could have been more focused on the strong areas of Bruno's character instead of following too closely in Borat's footsteps. However, the general focus on celebrity culture, though it could be tighter, works well. (Although if any character could have headlined a real masterpiece sendup of the cult of celebrity, it would have been Bruno.)