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Brüno

Vassup!

Rating: 3.75 out of 5 stars.

In 2006, moviegoers were introduced to the comedic genius of Sacha Baron Cohen with the release of Borat (or more formally, Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan). Given the success of this film, it’s no surprise that Cohen drew upon another character from his popular HBO series "Da Ali G Show", to spawn another equally offensive and risky yet brilliant comedy in Brüno.

Brüno is a flamboyant, gay Austrian fashionista who hosts his own show, the aptly titled "Funkyzeit". After a mishap at a fashion show, Brüno is blacklisted, his show is cancelled, and his pygmy, flight attendant boyfriend dumps him. Left with few alternatives, Brüno decides to come to America to become an über-celebrity.

Brüno’s celebrity aspirations lead him in just about every bizarre direction one can fathom. Naturally, the first place he lands is in L.A. In short order, Brüno finds he is not cut out for movie stardom. He attempts launching a talk show which goes down in flames. An attempt at a sex scandal tape (with Ron Paul) fails miserably as well.

Next, Brüno takes a crack at being the face of a charity as a thinly veiled PR campaign. He then pursues the "Brangelina/Madonna" avenue of adopting a child from a third world country. In short, Brüno’s meanderings are really a scathing indictment of the shameless pursuit of celebrity status.

Finally, Brüno has an epiphany and realizes that all of the biggest celebrities are actually straight! Thusly, Brüno goes on a quest for heterosexuality that takes him to Alabama, a "gay converter", the military, and other hotbeds of homophobia.

Just as was the case with Borat, Cohen gives us a character who amuses as much as he offends. Brüno is about as vacuous and narcissistic as they come. Being adored and put on a pedestal is the only thing that motivates him. Well, that’s not the only thing that Brüno’s interested in. He’s interested in getting laid…A LOT.

It’s somewhat understandable why certain members of the gay community would have problems with the film. But, digging deeper (not that Brüno is Tolstoy), Brüno is a "caricature" and there’s little question that Cohen is really making a statement about the absurdity of homophobia and the shallow pursuit of celebrity.

Whether you like what Cohen does or not, you have to admit it’s pretty brilliant and courageous to tackle the kind of humor he does. There’s no question that Cohen was legitimately in danger on numerous occasions during the filming of Brüno. While arguably the film isn’t quite as funny as Borat, it is still a solid comedy.