Bruno (Charles, 2009)

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A vulgar one trick pony, but often funny despite its thin structure and ridiculous narrative. Obviously rushed into production after the massive success of Borat, Bruno loosely follows the star-gazing pursuits of Sacha Baron Cohen’s fashionista alter ego, doing so with little attention to continuity, substance, and pacing. It’s all about the money shot, or should I say the reaction shot of horrified onlookers screeching with anger and resentment. Cohen and director Larry Charles focus wholeheartedly on judging institutions and groups of people when they should be holding back and let these collectives reveal their prejudices through action.

Bruno, both film and character, lack cleverness and dynamism, jumping from one deathly artificial set piece to the next, hoping for shock and awe but only producing controlled havoc that doesn’t feel all that daring. Where Borat brutally unveiled America’s racist underbelly, Bruno just adheres to silly stereotypes about Hollywood and the Christian church without worthy commentary on issues like anti-Semitism, hate and celebrity.  Cohen has let the success of one daring personality reveal the hollowness of his other.

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