The brilliant British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen dips into his stable of pre-existing characters and comes up with a big-screen vehicle for Brüno, a gay Austrian fashionista. Brüno is blond, fame-hungry, and prone to wearing unexpected combinations of lederhosen and hot pants. But it's his runway disaster with an all-Velcro suit that gets him barred from the Milan fashion scene and leads to the cancellation of his TV show. ("For the second time in a century, Austria had turned on its most famous man," he complains.) Clearly, he needs to go to America and share his philosophy--or at least become a celebrity in whatever way possible. Brüno
rolls out in a fashion similar to Borat
, a combination of a scripted through-line interspersed with scenes of Baron Cohen improvising with people who don't realize they're being set up, Candid Camera
-style. About half the time, this reaps some healthy laughs: a sequence with Brüno sitting down for a conversation with a "de-programmer" who claims to cure people of their homosexuality is on-topic, and there's a wild series of interviews with parents so desperate to get their kiddies into showbiz they'll agree to all manner of dangerous and irresponsible childcare. A lot of the humor isn't about Brüno's gayness at all; Baron Cohen is at his best when displaying freakish comic bravery (sitting across from a terrorist, he advises that "Your King Osama looks like a dirty wizard"). But the other half of Brüno
simply misses the movie's best targets--homophobia and celebrity culture--by miscalculating the nature of ambush comedy. When Baron Cohen gets former Presidential candidate Ron Paul in a hotel room and begins to undress, Paul isn't showing bigotry by storming out (except in his language); he's understandably reacting to obnoxious behavior in a supposedly professional situation. Too many set-ups fall short of the mother-lode pay dirt that Borat
so frequently hit, leaving this a distinctly lesser item in the Baron Cohen portfolio. --Robert Horton
Oscar® nominee and Golden Globe® winner Sacha Baron Cohen (Borat, Da Ali G Show and Talladega Nights) brings you the comedy that has started more conversations, generated more controversy and dared to go further than ever before! As brüno travels the world in search of fame, everyone he encounters - celebrities, politicians, Hasidic Jews, terrorists and cage fighters - becomes a stepping-stone to stardom, with hilarious results! So prepare yourself for nonstop laughs in the film Peter Travers of Rolling Stone says should be "Numero uno on your funny-time list!"