Two and a half stars (out of four)

Rated R for pervasive strong and crude sexual content, graphic nudity and language.

Who’s going to like it: Men who are 100% comfortable with their masculinity, people who can handle all forms of shock comedy (includes full male nudity), and fans of Sacha Baron Cohen and/or Borat


Sacha Baron Cohen was SO 2006 … AND 2009!

For nearly a decade, Sacha Baron Cohen – through his unique fictional characters Ali G, Borat and Brüno – has gained a massive fanbase in the UK. Through the last few years – especially with his 2006 film Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan – he’s made his way into America’s mainstream entertainment.

The formula for Baron Cohen’s latest film, Brüno, is almost identical to Borat – a “strange” foreigner makes his way to the U.S. in search of something hard-to-get. After Brüno, a flamboyantly gay Austrian fashion show host, is rejected from the European fashion scene, he comes to America with the hope of becoming a “celebrity.”

Baron Cohen’s form of comedy, varying between scripted, improvisational and candid scenes, paves the way for its unknowing victims to open their mouths and show how stupid they are. Those candid, unscripted parts are somewhat of a social commentary. For example, in one segment of the film, Brüno brings a black child onto a trashy talk show (the audience has no idea that this is a giant prank with the laugh on them), claiming to have gotten this child in exchange for an iPod during a lay-over in Africa. He tells them he wanted the child to have a traditional black name – OJ – and shows them family photos of the infant in hot tubs with other gay men in compromising positions. The audience verbally unleashes on him. They chant for child services to take OJ away from Brüno. An come out as a child services rep and takes OJ away. The audience cheers.

Just minutes before that scene, Brüno interviewed several parents trying to make money off their children by getting them into show business. He’s looking for children to cast in a photo shoot with OJ – some photos requiring the children to be strung up on crucifixes, to operate heavy machinery, to take untested medication, to lose 20 lbs. in one week, et cetera. When the parents hear of these things, their responses are astounding. “Sure.” “Whatever it takes for my child to get the job.”

And the talk show audience thought Brüno should lose OJ over his gay upbringing?! What about these parents?

Borat was genius because it was one moment like that after another. But now, Baron Cohen is far too famous and known to get away with that much. And because of that, it is impossible for Brüno to live up to those standards. There are far more scripted scenes in Brüno than Borat. To make up for that, Baron Cohen has added a whole other beast to the mix – shock comedy. You wont believe the things that they get away with showing in this R-rated movie. You’d swear it had to be NC-17. From unrealistically over-the-top gay sex scenes, to actual swinger parties, to full male nudity. Be prepared to see anything and everything. Any male who dares to see Brüno ought to be one hundred percent comfortable with his masculinity. If not, it’s going to be a very long 82 minutes.

While Brüno doesn’t live up to the Borat hype, it’s still hilarious. If you’re a fan of Borat and can handle the previously-mentioned shenanigans, then Brüno is a nice, quick comedy for you.

Photo credit: Universal Pictures

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