O.K - so, I saw Bruno. It wasn’t like I was dying to see this new movie with Sacha Baron Cohen playing a flamboyant, gay, Austrian fashion icon out to be a Hollywood celebrity. It was more like doing homework, a chore. (At least I went on bargain day and didn’t pay $10, and sitting in the cool theater was nice on a hot day.) I had heard so much about the film and wanted to see if I’d be offended, especially as a gay man.
I was bored. And embarrassed.
Nearly everything in the movie is so yesterday. Cohen’s first film, Borat, was better (relatively, at least), because it was so new and fresh, and the people in the encounters appeared to be truly duped and shocked. Big swaths of this film felt scripted and acted out. Cohen is clearly trying to be shocking just to be shocking, and it ends up terribly labored and unfunny.
This is bad and silly - yes, boring and embarrassing - enough, but what’s worse is that pretty much all of the gay stuff, which is just about all of the movie, is at least as old and stale. Significantly, the few funny parts of the film have nothing to do with homosexuality.
Too bad this regurgitation of tired gay stereotypes isn’t just boring and embarrassing. If Cohen’s intent is to satirize homophobia, as has been stated, he bombs big-time. I think I can safely say that, for the most part, the people who find this film truly funny and/or shocking are those who are homophobic, and by pandering to and titillating them, Cohen is only feeding and reiterating their homophobia. This supposed satire goes right over the head of those it is aimed at and ends up making fools of the rest of us who see it. (Oh, well, like I said, at least I went on bargain day...)
Unfortunately, this isn’t the end of the story. Shortly after seeing the film, I read in the paper that Britain will release a second version of Bruno next week. This version will be "tamer," with a few seconds of the more explicit sex scenes snipped out, so that 15-year-olds can see it.
That’s just swell. Just what we need - hordes of 15-year-old loaded up with gay jokes. Now I’m getting offended.