The Night Out: Brüno (2009), or Gay Borat=Fabulous

12 07 2009

America has an obsession with homosexuality. Have you ever noticed this? We are polarized as a nation on this issue of who-is-fucking-who. We either think a man having sex with another man is hilarious, or we think it is repugnant. It’s either an abominable sin or it is the funniest thing on the planet. Why can’t we look at homosexuality like a normal practice, something neither here nor there? The answer lies at the center of comedy, because something funny is synonymous with something out of the ordinary. And being gay is still quite an oddity in macho, macho America. So when Sacha Baron Cohen decided to make a mockumentary about his and our obsession with homosexuality, I thought that this would be a dream project for him to infiltrate candid Americans and get their feelings about homosexuality out in the open. And was I ever right. Cohen’s character Brüno gets people talking in a way that they haven’t been on camera since… well, since Borat!

Brüno is about the fictional eponymous character, an ultra-gay fashion show host in Austria. After a huge disaster during Fashion Week in Milan, our hero is ousted from Austrian fashion society and forced to think of another way to remain famous. He decides that the best course of action is to go to America and try to be famous there. With his loyal assistant at his side, he drastically tries nearly every means of stardom at his disposal. He tries interviewing famous guests, getting bit parts on TV shows, and even pitching his own pilot to a focus group. Along the way, he meets celebrities like Ron Paul, Paula Abdul, and even regular folk like you and me who shun him and his weird foreign (and gay) ways. Will Brüno be able to make it as a star in America, or will he have to sacrifice it all to even get a taste of the Hollywood spotlight?

The story is just a skeleton around which Cohen hangs a variety of real interviews he has with both celebrities and unassuming Americans, using his eccentric but coy personality to coax some real reactions out of them. Under the guise of a dumb foreigner, he gets people to open up with his questions about American culture, their own ignorance, and the rampant homophobia in our country to hilarious effect. For Borat, the objective was simply to shock and awe. With Brüno, we get the feeling that he really wants to pull something more out of them.

And he does; I have always assumed that the USA was more than just a little backwards. But from the people interviewed, I could not tell who was more idiotic; the character of Brüno or these real human beings. When Brüno tries to be more straight like American celebs, he goes to see a heterosexual conversion counselor in Alabama. Helpful advice like “Don’t play the clarinet if it reminds you of being gay” just makes you want to pretend you’re not Southern. And Paula Abdul actually starting an interview about her humanitarian work while she sits on an illegal immigrant hired to be a human piece of furniture just drops your jaw faster than a Mexican’s back after it’s been sat on by Paula Abdul’s ass.

But Brüno’s pretty dumb too. Some of the stuff he comes up with will blow your mind. The focus group for his American pilot may be one of the funniest things I’ve seen all year! And the finale, involving a UFC event sponsored by “Straight Dave”, is priceless, a modern comedy masterpiece. I have to admit that Cohen’s gay curiosity got the better of me, and turned me into a 12 year0old laughing at cock jokes. But if he can warm the heart of an old fuddy-duddy like me, then that is the best recommendation of all! Sacha Baron Cohen has the power to make a grown man squirm in his chair, both in the interview chair and in movie theater seating. He uses that power to bear fully on us in his latest film, and call me a total gay if that doesn’t work for me. I loved it, perhaps more than I loved Borat (and I LOVED Borat). Only time will tell, but until I decide to review that film, I give Brüno 9 screaming penises out of 10. See this one soon!

Tomorrow is the beginning of MST Week! We’ll start off this whimsical little project with one of my all-time favorite episodes, a little Christmas in July movie for you called Santa Claus Conquers the Martians!

Note: To anyone wondering how I got the oomlauts on the U in Brüno, hold the Alt button while typing, using the numbers on the right hand side of your keyboard, 129. Try it, yoü’ll like it!

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