After the noise made from Borat, there was little doubt that Sacha Baron Cohen wouldn’t do another film. And, sure enough, Cohen came back and plucked another one of his characters from Da Ali G Show to be the focus of a full length film. This time it was Bruno (or brüno) who would star in his own film and much like an overly elongated episode of Punk’D, brüno made his way through the United States, doing it is what he does best: shocking the hell out of people. With a modest budget and a healthy intake (over $135 million worldwide), brüno undoubtedly proved a success for Universal…although considering the amount of press that was pumped out for this film, who knows if it was a true success or not.
Oscar® nominee and Golden Globe® winner Sacha Baron Cohen (Borat, Da Ali G Show and Talladega Nights) brings you the comedy that has started more conversations, generated more controversy and dared to go further than ever before! As brüno travels the world in search of fame, everyone he encounters — celebrities, politicians, Hasidic Jews, terrorists and cage fighters — becomes a stepping-stone to stardom, with hilarious results! So prepare yourself for nonstop laughs in the film Peter Travers of Rolling Stone says should be “Numero uno on your funny-time list!”
I’ll preface this by saying that I loved Borat (well, “love” may be too strong of a word…but I did laugh my ass off) and fully expected brüno to leave me with a similar feeling. However, and I noticed this very early on in brüno, the film almost played out too much like Borat, in that the “foreign guy in America” card was played for the entire film. You see this in some of the trailers for the film but it’s painted more as just another outing by Cohen, that “wacky guy” who brought you Borat.
So I guess you could call brüno rather formulaic in construction, but considering both are from Cohen it’s kind of hard to fault him for playing similar hands when it worked so well before. But as similar as the settings are the ultimate outcomes for the films…are not. For one thing I should mention that if you are in any way homophobic, then this film will offend and disgust you to no end. It’s also probably a pretty good indicator if you are actually homophobic, as there is so much packed into this film that it may surprise you just how stockpiled this movie is. Having said that, of course, if you just find gross-out, constant sexual and perverse humor to be disgusting too…well, then just stay far away from this film. Because it will likely offend you in some manner.
Me? I’m not sure if I was ever flat-out offended at any particular moment, but I can definitely say I was shocked. Shocked…repeatedly, actually. It’s such a surprising movie to watch both because of the places that brüno travels in the U.S. with varying levels of acceptance of gays and also just to see the reactions on people’s faces. Whether its celebrities or politicians, Cohen does a superb job in getting to them where they least expect it. The segment with Paula Abdul had me laughing hysterically and the montage of brüno’s “show” and the panelists who are reviewing it was just so perfectly well played by Cohen. Of course it’s difficult to tell what’s real and what isn’t, but Cohen really invests himself in the character to shocking degrees.
There’s so much in this film to take in during its short run time, but that ending just really sums it up for me. brüno and his lover in a cage match in front of a bunch of red necks…it’s probably one of the best (or worst) examples of how the gay culture affects some people. While there was the usual heckling, yelling, and booing once things got physical…there were also the individuals who actually started to cry about what they were seeing. It was just a perfect ending to the film, it really was.
So yeah…the films offensive. It’s got offensive scenes in spades, whether it’s the baby segments or the looped video of a flopping penis, there’s something in the film to turn off anyone, really. And that’s why it’s Recommended. Hell, it’s almost educational as you’re bound to learn a lot about yourself based solely on what you find “acceptable” from your own frame of reference. Or maybe you’ll just be like me and repeatedly say “Holy ****, I can’t believe he got away with doing that” a dozen or so times throughout the film.
Universal is releasing the film in both Blu-ray and DVD versions, with the only perk on the Blu being the digital copy (if you call such a thing a perk, anyway). The DVD for this film is about all you need anyway, as I can’t imagine why anyone would need to see this film in HD…unless you want to see that penis in high definition. In any case, the video looks great and the audio, a DD5.1 mix, is mostly in the front channels aside from the music which tends to boom about the room courtesy of some surround placement and subwoofer output. The disc itself arrives in a standard amaray DVD case with a cardboard reflective foil slipcover. Menus are simple and easy to navigate and additional audio tracks include English DVS Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo, French & Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround and English SDH, French, and Spanish subtitles.
Extras are brief but worth checking out if you enjoyed the film. Included:
• Alternative Scenes
• An Interview with Lloyd Robinson
• Movie with Enhanced Commentary
There’s a hilarious bit with Latoya Jackson which was excised from the film due to the recent passing of Michael Jackson at the time of this film’s release. The films not integrated back into the film but it does boast it as a deleted scene so that’s good. The “Interview” is rather throw away, but the commentary is pretty enjoyable.
Overall a solid release, if a bit light on the extras. Considering the amount of promotion this film got I’m surprised there wasn’t a whole “advertisement” section for all the ad spots (and the MTV Awards stunt with Eminem). Strange…but hey, that’s what double dips are for, right? For right now, however, this is an adequate release for such a film. Recommended.
brüno arrives on DVD and Blu-ray on November 17th.