Directed by Larry Charles
Featuring Sacha Baron Cohen, Gustaf Hammasten, Paula Abdul
“Can I give you guys a word of advice? Lose the beards, because your King Osama looks like a kind of dirty wizard… or a homeless Santa.”
Sacha Baron Cohen
I didn’t get to catch this film when it was in its theatrical run. I quite enjoyed Borat and the original Ali G Series. So, did Bruno live up to its hype? Bruno was recently released on DVD by Universal Studios.
Just to catch you up to speed. Actor, writer and comedian Sacha Baron Cohen is known for his comic characters Ali G, a poseur ‘urban’ youth from suburban Staines, England, Borat Sagdiyev, a sexist and racist Kazakh reporter, and Brüno, an outrageous homosexual fashion reporter from Austria. He typically performs interviews with respected public figures and media, film and television stars while posing as one of his characters. Those he interviews truly believe that the interviews are legitimate.
Knowing that, the audience enters into the film featuring Borat, the outrageous and wildly gay fashion reporter from Austria. Cohen himself has said that as his movies and shows have become more popular, it is harder and harder for him to conduct interviews and achieve the honest effect or “outcome” that he used to. So, in Bruno, it is apparent that while some of the participants seem unaware of the “character” Bruno, others seem “in on the joke”, so then he goes mostly for staged comedy “situations”.
While I found Borat to work on almost every level, Bruno tries for the same level of comic ease, but doesn’t quite make it. Perhaps because it is more difficult to lull people into feeling that they are in a documentary when Cohen is increasingly becoming more recognizable, even in the various disguises. Or perhaps, it is because the character of Bruno only reveals some people’s discomfort with individuals that are openly gay but doesn’t reveal even darker and more hidden private views people hold about race and religion.
So, some of the jokes fall a bit flat but others work on a wonderful satiric level that if you are a fan of Cohen’s work, you will enjoy.
The best bits I found in this cinematic concoction are Bruno’s visit to a fashion show, complete with a suit made entirely of Velcro. Chaos ensues.
I also enjoyed Bruno’s visit with a dominatrix and “swingers” group. You won’t believe Bruno’s visit to a talk show where he discusses his recent “adoption” of an African baby.
I think the most outrageous stunt pulled, in addition to interviewing Paula Abdul while seated upon Latino day workers (yes, you read that right), is Bruno staging a Ultimate Fighting Championship event as the character “Straight Dave” If I told you the outcome, it would ruin it. Just watch this “situation” get to critical mass.
So, at the end of the day, this isn’t one that has to go in the permanent collection. But, it might be worth adding to the Netflix queue .
Bruno is presented in anamorphic widescreen The colors are vibrant and the overall image is very respectable. While it is apparent that some of the “situations” utilized a digital camera, the overall image is decent and suitable for the material presented.
Bruno is presented in a Dolby Digital 5.1 surround mix. The dialogue is crystal clear and well mixed with the techno soundtrack. This is not the disc to pop in to give the speakers a work out, but is fine for the type of film presented.
The Packaging and Bonus Features
Bruno is presented in a standard amaray case with artwork suitable to the film presented.
First up, a feature length commentary with Sacha Baron Cohen and director Larry Charles. It is a great conversation and look into the how difficult it is to produce this type of film. It is a very entertaining and informative listen and so worth your time.
Alternate Scenes and Deleted Scenes are offered that should give you a chuckle or two.
Extended Scenes and Theatrical Trailer are here for your perusal. Rounding things out, Interview with Lloyd Robinson is an interview with Bruno’s agent who was “fooled” by Bruno. From this interview, he seems to have taken the joke well and shares some funny stories.
Overall (Not an Average) 6/10
The Movie 6/10
The Video 6/10
The Audio 6/10
The Packaging and Bonus Features 6.5/10
Overall (not an average) 6/10