Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Bruno: The Definitive (Thumbnail) Review

I don't make it to the movies very often (I feel fairly sure the Blue Flower doesn't grow there), so when I do, it's worth a post. I enjoyed Bruno more than I expected to (the umlaut is there, it's just really small). What I disliked about Borat was not the ridicule of those who richly deserved it (Pamela Anderson; the rabidly xenophobic rodeo crowd), but the humiliation of a number of well-intentioned but typically (American) average folks who committed the crime of being insularly ignorant about "furriners."

Bruno manages to offend just about everyone, but the object of satire per se is the absurdly hubristic figure of Bruno himself, and what is satirized is not so much homosexuality or its practices as the universal target of satire: self-important buffoonery. Sure, it pokes fun at both homosexuals and homophobes, but it does not impale (so to speak). The raunchiness certainly is a bit much (as I'm sure it was intended to be), but it doesn't negate the hilarity of Bruno lurching, Kramer-like, head first into one metaphorical wall after another.

The opening minutes, in which Bruno throws a ripe-for-disruption fashion show into an uproar by wearing an all-velcro suit (and having a disastrous encounter with a curtain), are worth admission in themselves. I also particularly enjoyed the Paula Abdul segment (because of what she sits on) as well as the tableau of Bruno, ludicrously attired in African garb, removing from an airport baggage carousel a large tusk, an elephant foot, and a box marked "fragile" and containing a black baby. Everything is over-the-top, but that is Sacha Baron Cohen's shtick. The Ron Paul piece wasn't funny (he was one of the few unsuspected targets who acted with unsanctimonious dignity) and should have been cut, but overall Bruno wisely clocks in at (I'm guessing) 90 minutes or so. In an age when even good movies are too long (everything is getting quicker--except movies), this is a triumph in itself.

Bruno is not for the sexually squeamish, and its gay theme is no instance of social activism, but when it is funny, it is very funny indeed.


Anonymous said...

Well, I would've never thought...

I haven't had the pleasure/displeasure of seeing Bruno yet.

I presume nothing.

Novalis said...

I'm surprised, Horatio--a stretch for you? "More things in heaven and earth..."