Monday, November 30, 2009

Bruno (2009)

There's a lot that I really like about Sacha Baron Cohen. I like that fact that he is a fearless, satirist. One that won't break character even when he is getting arrested. I think "Bruno" is generally underrated. It was released to a mostly lukewarm critical reception-but I think it actually made some money. Part of the issue is, I think, people thought it was too much like "Borat", perhaps going to the well one too many times. It doesn't all look work, but in fits and starts as satire about some people's unrelenting search to become famous (or for their kid's to become famous) and it puts the spotlight to a lot of people's attitudes, in general, towards homosexuality. Now, it could probably be argued that Cohen goes after some easy targets (UFC fight fans in the South, for instance-but I have to admit, and I know it happens, it was fairly eye opening to see just how disgusted and angry people get when two men kiss. Granted they do get the rug pulled out from under them, but still..). But the way Cohen brings people's own attitudes to the forefront is truly remarkable to me-no matter how easy it might seem. And in some ways, it is pretty brave in it's audacity: going to the Middle East and talking to actual terrorists, getting tied up in bondage gear to his lover and walking through a Fred Phelps' march. It is hit and miss, and you might spend too much time trying to figure out whats real and what's fake-but when it hits its mark it really hits its mark. So while the small scene with Ron Paul didn't work, the scene where Bruno interviews parents about what they would let their kids do in a photoshoot (Would you let your baby get tied to a crucifix?) is amazing in showcasing just how far people would go for themselves or their kids to "make it big".

Here's a great story from Cohen when he was promoting "Bruno", about how he went about getting that interview with a terrorist organization in Bruno:

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