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Overall Rating

Awesome: 15.69%
Worth A Look29.41%
Pretty Bad: 5.88%
Total Crap: 19.61%

5 reviews, 21 user ratings

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by Rob Gonsalves

"The queerest of the queer."
4 stars

It’s doubtful that even the most freewheeling gay porn could be as fawningly, lovingly devoted to the male member as "Brüno" is.

The organ, hardly ever seen in mainstream multiplex films, is ready for its close-up, and it gets one here in an image I could hardly believe I was seeing on the local big screen. In case actual penises aren’t enough, we also see any number of latex simulacra. For Brüno — a flamboyantly gay fashion-show host, and one of the comic creations of Sacha Baron Cohen (who brought you Borat) — life is all about the phallus, and there’s something innocent about his pursuit of it. Like Borat, he has no concept of anything outside his pleasure zone and drive for fame (which amount to the same thing).

The latest Baron Cohen attempt to strafe American sensibilities by holding a funhouse mirror up to us, Brüno is hit or miss for its first half or so but picks up steam as it goes along. Brüno has been fired from his Austrian TV show, and he comes to Los Angeles, accompanied by his adoring “assistant’s assistant” Lutz (Gustaf Hammarsten), in search of fame, or at least fame by proxy. His first whack at a celebrity-driven “reality show” is haplessly appalling, so for the rest of the movie Brüno seeks celebrity of his own. Baron Cohen, insinuating himself into the syndicated junk culture, gives Brüno a hungry twinkle — he’s a drama queen without much drama, since he’s pretty oblivious to the social engineering that gets in his way.

As in Borat, most of the real people encountering Baron Cohen — no doubt aware they’re on camera — try very hard to accommodate him. I didn’t buy that Brüno, in the film’s second half when he’s trying to “go straight,” gains access to a swingers’ club, much less gets permission to bring a camera in while the swingers are having actual sex (with the naughty bits blotted out). The scene is obviously staged, especially when a terrified Brüno finds himself in a bedroom with a particularly aggressive dominatrix (played by porn actress Michelle McLaren). A lot of the other stuff seems disconcertingly real, such as Brüno’s hunting trip with three scraggly good ol’ boys. His encounter with a “gay converter” is more sad than funny, as encounters with these tragic repressed gay men trying desperately to be straight always are.

Baron Cohen stays fearlessly in character, though an equal portion of credit should go to Gustaf Hammarsten, who makes something tenderly human out of the lovestruck, obsequious Lutz. Brüno is clearly the gayest film since 300, but it’s also shrewd about the lust for fame (the studio should’ve left in the bit with Brüno trying to get Michael Jackson’s number off LaToya Jackson’s cell phone). Brüno only tries to “go straight” because he thinks it’s the only way to become famous, and it’s a hoot to see him throw himself into traditionally hetero-alpha-male activities; it all leads to the movie’s masterstroke, “Straight Dave’s Man-Slamming Maxout,” which leaves its beer-chugging spectators looking hilariously crestfallen.

"Brüno" doesn’t have much to say about American homophobes other than that they’re entertainingly nonplussed when confronted with a flamingly nelly stereotype — though we wonder how entertainingly they’d react if there were no cameras around.

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originally posted: 07/13/09 10:20:32
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User Comments

9/14/10 Karamashi Shocking, crude, messy, but hilarious. 4 stars
6/19/10 Josie Cotton is a goddess Great movie. Could not stop laughing! 5 stars
6/14/10 mr. mike It has a cuople of big laughs , but the bloom is clearly off the rose, 2 stars
1/11/10 David Not bad, but the shock value wears off on repeat viewings. 3 stars
11/28/09 Luke Ignore the 1-star ratings here - unless you're homophobic 5 stars
8/28/09 Emmy Kay Butanone Elton John must be getting senile, to be willing to appear in this gay-bashing rubbish! 1 stars
8/27/09 Gretchen Seitz A conundrum. Is this gay-bashing or gay-oriented? Go figure. 3 stars
8/27/09 R. G. Ranade Bold and brave, sure, but just not funny enough. 2 stars
8/15/09 damalc offensive for the sake of being offensive, while hoping for a laugh 2 stars
8/07/09 Rachel "How do you protect yourself from a dildo?" Great film. Can't wait for the DVD. 5 stars
7/29/09 Knightfox21 Major letdown...pretty gross. Cohen has done better work. 1 stars
7/29/09 Brew Gross & totally scripted ... Borat was 100 times better 1 stars
7/23/09 The Great Lee Card funny as hell, takes a bit to get into then totally absorbing, almost as good as borat 5 stars
7/18/09 Man Out 6 Bucks Frightened closet homophobes funnier than tossed dwarves! Ron Paul bit unfunny though. 4 stars
7/17/09 Makman Was OK. Lacked the oomph of Borat. Not great, but not a total disaster either. 3 stars
7/14/09 Luisa Fearless and disturbingly funny! 5 stars
7/14/09 Mick "You Know How I Know Gay?" 30% give a negative on RT, thats how. 5 stars
7/13/09 Flounder An oftentimes hilarious film. Not as original or organized as Borat 4 stars
7/13/09 The Game Not as good as Borat. Very overrated. Weak film. 1 stars
7/12/09 The Talking Elbow I'd like to see someone else try to sneak into a terrorist leader's lair to prank them. 5 stars
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  10-Jul-2009 (R)
  DVD: 17-Nov-2009


  DVD: 17-Nov-2009

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