Tuesday 21 July 2009

Brüno (2009) - ickleReview (cinema)

Brüno, after Ali G and Borat, is the third of Sacha Baron Cohen's comic TV characters to be given his own full-length feature film. Like Ali G and Borat, Brüno also works better in small doses. Don't get me wrong: this is a funny - and at times hilarious - film. But too much of it is uncomfortable viewing and it left me feeling a bit bleh when I left the cinema. I quite like to see taboos being broken and boundaries stretched; I'm fond of a bit of bad taste. But I'm not sure any of these characters is suited to the sustained narrative that movies demand. (Compare how Jackass: The Movie (2002) didn't quite make a successful transition on to the big screen.)

Brüno is an overtly gay Austrian fashionista, who claims to be only 19 years old. He is the host of Funkyzeit mit Brüno, "the top-rated late-night fashion show in any German-speaking country, except Germany". In order to generate a plot for the film, Brüno is sacked after causing mayhem at Milan Fashion Week for wearing an all-velcro suit (one of the funniest scenes in the film, like Borat in the antiques shop. Sacha Baron Cohen is a master of slap-stick - a legacy of his training with one of France's best clowns). Brüno therefore decides to leave behind the "shallow" fashion world to become a celebrity in Hollywood. Cue a number of set-up skits with agents, fortune-tellers, TV focus groups, anal bleachers, swingers, usw. It's best left unsaid what he does in each of these situations so that the shock-value of his comedy isn't spoilt.

The most pointless aspect of the film is the creation of the character Lutz (Gustaf Hammarsten), Brüno's assistant's assistant, who follows him to Hollywood. Brüno didn't even know his name before. Lutz has a heavy crush on him. As with Borat, one of the filmmakers must have thought it was necessary for Brüno to have a side-kick. (Borat gave us Azamat Bagatov (played by Ken Davitian), with whom he had the naked fight throughout the hotel.) Most of the Lutz scenes are unfunny and boring. They needn't have bothered.

Nugget: good in parts, but not entirely satisfying.

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