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Published on July 10th, 2009 | by simeon

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Bruno

Life is good for Austrian fashonista Bruno (Sacha Baron Cohen). As the star of the top Austrian fashion show, he is a fixture at all of the social events and is the flamboyant highpoint of any event he graces.
That is until things go awry and Bruno finds himself on the outside looking in and is blacklisted from the European fashion industry he lives for.

Undaunted, Bruno sets out to become a star and take America by storm in the shockingly outrageous and sure to be controversial “Bruno”. The film is a follow up to “Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan” which took the box office by storm when it was released three years ago.

Upon arriving in America, Bruno sets out to be a star, but soon runs into trouble when his first day on a television set goes out of control. If this was not bad enough, Bruno’s pitch for a variety shows scores badly with a focus group who are dismayed at the very graphic depiction of the male form and other outrageous humor.

Undaunted even when his attempts at celebrity interviews crash and burn around him, Bruno sets out to get tabloid attention by adopting a baby from Africa. This leads to a daring and outrageous segment on a Texas talk show where Bruno is verbally chastised by the predominately African American audience.

Unable to catch a break, Bruno travels to locales as diverse as Israel, Alabama, and Los Angeles hoping to get a break, but only finds failure. Despite his horrible luck, Bruno has the adoration of his assistant Lutz (Gustaf Hammarsten), which sadly for Gustaf is unrequited.

Desperate for acceptance, Bruno decides to become straight and sets off to the South to learn what being a straight man is all about which sets up some outrageous encounters ranging from a swingers party to a hilarious macho man event hosted by Bruno as “Straight Dave”.

While there are those who will see only the nudity and crude humor of the film and dismiss it, those who are more open minded will see the genius of Cohen who is a master of improvisational. It is fascinating to see how much he throws himself into a scene and literally becomes his characters. No matter how outrageous the scenario, Cohen is not afraid to push the boundaries and get people to expose their true selves.

While his scenarios shock, they also educate and enlighten as he gets his unsuspecting co-stars to show sides of themselves and human nature which people try to hide and ignore. Despite thinking we are an enlightened society, there are those that are shocked by a person who is so flamboyant and open, even swingers whose very lifestyle is considered by most to be out of the norm and for others to be unordinary.

Numerous celebrity appearances also grace the film, which I will refrain from spoiling but suffice it to say add to the enjoyment of the film.

The movie does not have much in the way of plot and character development, but that is not the intention of the film, as the plot is a framework to connect the segments which work well in my opinion.

Unlike a Saturday Night Live sketch turned into a movie, “Bruno” works well within the films run time without overstaying its welcome and losing momentum.

In the end, you will either love or hate the film, and much of this will depend on your tolerance for very mature, bawdy, and controversial humor. For my taste, this was one of the funniest films I have ever seen and I could not stop laughing.

4.5 stars out of 5.

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