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Brüno a fearlessly funny film
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Brüno a fearlessly funny film

by Scott Rice - SGN Contributing Writer

Brüno
Opening July 10


The new Sacha Baron Cohen vehicle, Br?no, is a funny film. It's drop-your-cocktail funny. It's pee-your-hybrid-boxer-briefs funny. It's bronzed-forehead-vein-popping funny. Br?no is also a disturbingly revealing look at some of the most frighteningly revolting people the human race has ever spawned.

Br?no picks up where Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan left off. Br?no is a Queer Austrian fashionista who falls out of favor in Europe. He then sets out to find uber fame in Los Angeles. His quest begins in Hollywood, but takes him all over the world and through a nice slice of Middle America, including a couple of hilarious stops in the Southern milieu.

Cohen, the man behind Brüno, Borat, and Ali G, is a brave guy. He's a fearless comic willing to go to just about any length to get a laugh. However, he's also a wily satirist who goes places and says things that could easily get him killed, or at least a little bloodied. Though he seems to know what he's doing, I couldn't help wondering what would happen if something went wrong.

Cohen constantly pushes the limit, even if you get the feeling that some of the shtick is staged. From his live-action talking penis to the seduction of Ron Paul (yes, that Ron Paul), Cohen dives into his craft enthusiastically. Yeah, Br?no is not for the squeamish, but that's why the pay-off is so sweet.

If there is a problem, it's due to the schizophrenic nature of the film. It is funny, but it's also disturbing to watch crowds of unsophisticated rednecks throwing chairs at two guys kissing. One meaty blonde bullet-head was actually crying angrily over the mano y mano erotic display apparently disrupting the sanctity of the WWF (Wing-nut Wrestling Federation?) event. What a puss!

When Brüno isn't being pelted with chairs and garbage by a bunch of white trash knuckleheads willing to plop down big money for a pro wrestling sideshow, he's variously being chased, ejected, verbally abused, threatened, and laughed at, not to mention getting whipped by a platinum blonde dominatrix with a set of fake tits eclipsed only by her bad attitude.

Despite all the mayhem and yuks, Cohen retains a knack for getting folks to say all the nasty stuff bubbling up inside their head. His disarming nature proves the undoing of his targets over and over. Whether playing into their bigotry, playing social bait 'n' switch, or playing them for rubes, Cohen finds a way to make an ass out of them.

And making an ass out of these folks is good, even if witnessing their antics tempers the comedy. We have to know ignorance is out there, and seeing the ignorant say hateful things is a good reminder. The queasiness of the climactic scenes in the pro wrestling cage, with its blend of hilarity and disgust, was mitigated by the sweetly comic ending in which Brüno sings along with Bono, Elton, Snoop, and Sting, while being accompanied on the guitar by Slash. It's nice to see these musical icons come together to send a musical message to homophobic assholes everywhere, and that message is: What's your damage?

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