In 2006, Sacha Baron Cohen released Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan and made the world laugh at itself, making over $260 million during the process. Borat was one of three characters that Cohen had been developing over a number of years, all of which eventually gained mainstream attention during his run on HBO’s Da Ali G Show. Borat also brought controversy and a number of lawsuits with it, essentially closing the door, at least temporarily, to any sort of follow-up.
This time Cohen brings an even more outrageous alter-ego to the screen, a gay Austrian fashion critic named Bruno, in a film that gouges the fashion industry, and plays off of homophobia and vanity.
Bruno follows the same formula that made Borat so outrageously funny, but in doing so, it begins to parody the format that made Borat such a success. I enjoyed much of the comedy, but found it became rather repetitive and over the top during the last 40 minutes or so. There are a series of real-life skits and interviews that are tied together through a loose, fictional story line. In the spirit of the adventurous Borat, Bruno decides to take a trip to America after he’s fired from his show on Austrian TV, Funkyzeit mit Bruno. After he arrives, he sets off on a quest to become a celebrity and gain worldwide super-stardom by any means necessary, starting with a hilarious TV show pitch, leading to the adoption of an African baby, and culminating in an attempt to turn himself straight. During his journey, he is accompanied by his loyal assistant’s assistant Lutz, who plays a similar role to Borat’s producer Azamat, and also eventually becomes part of the narrative.
Sacha Baron Cohen once again creates improvised havoc, entangling everyone he meets in unpredictable, unscripted and unsuspecting hilarity. From the worlds of fashion and entertainment to the military, Cohen’s Bruno lays waste to good taste in ways that confound both celebrities and everyday folks alike.
The Bruno DVD features more than an hour of exclusive footage, including deleted scenes not shown in the theatrical release, along with a revealing commentary by Sasha Baron Cohen and director Larry Charles about how some of the film’s pranks were pulled off. The extra material is not to be missed by hardcore fans of Baron Cohen’s style of comedy. The bonus material also includes an Interview with real-life Hollywood agent Lloyd Robinson, which ties Bruno’s story to reality even more.
Director: Larry Charles
Cast: Sacha Baron Cohen, Gustaf Hammarsten, Clifford Bañagale, Chibundu Orukwowu, Chigozie Orukwowu, Josh Meyers, Toby Hoguin, Robert Huerta, Gilbert Rosales, Thomas Rosales Jr., Marco Xavier, Bono, Chris Martin, Elton John, Slash, Snoop Dogg, Sting
Original Release Date: July 10, 2009
DVD Release Date: October 27, 2009
And here is yet another interview included on the DVD, this time with baseball legend Pete Rose.