Bruno: DVD, Blu-ray Movie Review (2009)

11/18/2009 Posted by Admin

Movie Review


Directed by Larry Charles, written by Sacha Baron Cohen, Anthony Hines, Dan Mazer and Jeff Schaffer, 88 minutes, rated R.

by Christopher Smith

The Sacha Baron Cohen movie, “Bruno,” really isn’t a movie at all. Calling it one is sort of like calling mutton the new white meat. It isn’t so, but for simplicity’s sake, we’ll nevertheless refer to it as such here.

Now on DVD and Blu-ray disc, this blast of flamboyant bombast is a sketch comedy of bad taste and shocking moments that took four writers to conceive and toss up onto the screen. Sometimes they score--the opening moments are the movie at its most outlandish and best--and other times they fail, which makes for a movie whose highs and lows conspire to make for an uneven experience, to say the least.

And what experiences we have in “Bruno.” The film is about the uber-gay Austrian fashionista Bruno (Cohen), who aspires to be a worldwide superstar no matter what. That’s the slim thread that carries the movie forward--but it isn’t much, and to be fair to the film, it really isn’t meant to be.

The whole point behind “Bruno” is to push buttons. It’s to make those not in on the joke feel even more uncomfortable with the gay community than they already are. “Yes,” some righteously will claim. “That’s exactly what it means to be homosexual!” Other will know that little of this has anything to do with being gay--it’s satire. And one with a double-sided edge.

Bruno’s very being--a toss of frosted hair, dusted cheek bones that could give Joan Crawford a run for money, and outfits that intentionally are ridiculous--will at once do its share of damage to the gay community, and its part in helping it. Bruno is, after all, the poster boy for homophobia, a stereotype so amplified and overwrought, the wrong people will be nodding and happily repelled, while others will come waiting for the laughs to strike.

And that’s the real problem with “Bruno.” Unlike Cohen’s much funnier “Borat,” “Bruno” seems oddly out of touch with current times. It doesn’t reflect the now--instead, it reflects the then. It’s a movie about a gay stereotype written and performed by a straight man who is married with a child. He doesn’t quite get it. The film does have its moments, just not enough of them. You watch the movie with a kind of bemused puzzlement. What is “Bruno” trying to accomplish? If the film wants to make us laugh, it doesn’t do so enough. But if it wants to infuriate and affirm certain fears, it succeeds.

And where’s the fun in that?

Grade: C

View the trailer for "Bruno" here:

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