The "Ali G" movie was terrible...the TV show
"Da Ali G Show" was okay..."Borat" was
good...but, with "Brüno", I think comedian Sacha Baron Cohen has
come up with a package that is funny, shocking, well performed and
lean, easily his best work. But, I guess my biggest
question at this point is...what the hell will Cohen do next?
I ask because "Brüno" is a chart-topper, an
over-the-top (WAY over-the-top) performance that is very easily the
wrongest shit I have ever seen in an R-rated motion picture.
That it is so shocking becomes even more incredible when you
consider that the film is so damned funny, featuring a very steady
stream of laughs over a 90-minute production that rarely has you
sitting on your thumbs waiting for the next comedic moment.
The character Brüno is a 19-year-old gay Austrian fashionista (or,
so he says) who gets bagged from his home country TV show and comes
to the U.S. in search of fame on a worldwide scale along with his
assistant Lutz (Gustaf Hammersten). In the process, he
interviews real-life famous people as well as industry experts,
international terrorists, overzealous parents and Mexican laborers
while bouncing between L.A., the Middle East and Alabama (???)
trying to become an international star.
As some of you may remember, I thought the
funniest single movie scene in 2006 was the hotel naked wrestling
sequence from "Borat"; in "Brüno", there are at least five scenes
like that in terms of the laughter barrel quotient. There is a
point during this film--after a focus group has finished watching a
clip from a proposed Brüno TV show--where I thought my theater
audience was going to literally die from laughter. But, as
shocking as the bit is, it IS really, legitimately funny...I think
this is where Cohen has really nailed it, in terms of the mix of
social commentary to go along with raunchy humor.
Closed-minded people get reamed in this movie, but the Cohen style
of mixing acting with his hidden cameras during bits with non-actors
And, how does a man not break character
while getting beaten with a whip, or asking former government
officials questions about issues of a sexual nature? How does
he not crack a smile while telling a talk-show audience that he gave
his black child a "traditional African name"--O.J.?? How does
he tell a guy boning a girl at a swingers party that he's going to
grab a sandwich while not even smiling? Cohen does all of this while in character;
the concentration alone that he exhibits while playing Borat or
Brüno is mind-boggling to me. But, he's so good at it, that
you sometimes lose sight of how gifted a performer this guy really
I don't know if a film featuring scenes
where you can learn how to fight off a naked gay attacker wielding a
black and a white dildo can really be up for an Oscar early next
year...but, if any film's got a shot, it would be this one for
Cohen's performance, which is incredible. I really thought "Brüno"
gave "The Hangover"
a run for its money, as I think you can't go wrong with either one.
Rating: Opening Weekend
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard