Bruno
You should see my other microphone.

Theatrical Release Date: 07/10/2009
Director: Larry Charles
Cast: Sacha Baron Cohen, Gustaf Hammarsten

Look out America, “Borat” round two has arrived and this time, Sacha Baron Cohen is wearing his gay fashionista cap in the form of “Brüno”. Based on another character he showcased on the Ali G show, the similarities between the two films are many – from the notion of his European character traveling to America in search of something, to the film being a series of pranks on unsuspecting dotards, to Cohen bringing along a sidekick unafraid to participate in some graphic man-on-man action.

For those of you who didn’t see “Borat” but were thinking of checking out “Brüno”, make sure you’re okay with numerous scenes involving full frontal of the male persuasion, sex acts a hairline away from earning this film a NC-17 (you could make a drinking game out of the number of black dots used) and a whole gaggle of lewd and offensive language and behavior.

If none of those things deter you and the trailer looks funny, you’re getting exactly what you see. I found Cohen’s set-ups repetitive after ten minutes, all involving his character duping people into looking like fools as he attempts to fondle their bodies or engage in outright sex. Sure, many of the scenes were funny but there’s very little continuity to everything as each gag (no pun intended) feels like Cohen’s trying to make the audience laugh almost more by shock value than cleverness (though there is some to be had).

Had the loose story framework been removed, this could have been presented like a “Jackass” movie, just collecting a series of pranks … and that might have been funnier since I’ve always preferred Cohen’s characters in short bursts rather than the long form (again, no pun intended). Trying to cobble together a story managed to slow the film’s momentum down faster than a Freddie Prinze Jr. monologue.

And at 81 minutes, that’s really saying something. About two minutes before the credits start to roll, I was wondering how much more of the same joke I’d have to endure. Thankfully, that was answered with the closing song featuring not only Brüno himself but Bono, Sting, Chris Martin, Elton John and Slash … yeah, sort of brilliant and sort of the icing on the trying-too-hard cake.

The bottom line (seriously, no pun intended) is that if you loved “Borat”, you’ll like “Brüno”. It really is that simple. I enjoyed this one more because he was duping homophobes for the most part but that’s just me. I really wanted to knock this down another point because it uses the same setup for every scene and the story is flimsy at best, but I admit that I laughed far more than I thought I would and so I’ll give “Brüno” a lukewarm 3 out of 5.