Thursday, December 3, 2009

Brüno (2009)

Directed by Larry Charles. Sacha Baron Cohen is an important comedian because his comedy doesn't play everywhere. It's just not for everybody. So-called taboos are a myth if everyone is on the joke; this is why the Ku Klux Klan and Hitler aren't taboos. So it's always bullshit when somebody sticks a guy in a Klan hood or a Hitler wig in a movie and a critic calls it unbridled, shocking or taboo.

But "Brüno" is just too goddamn smart to be for everybody. How on earth could an arena full of rednecks lured in to see a free mixed-martial arts exhibition called "Straight Dave's Man Slammin' Max Out," complete with free t-shirts and no evident corporate sponsorship, NOT be waiting for the bottom to drop out of the whole event? But they are oblivious to the fact that they are objects of Cohen's satire and critical to the definition of his taboo.

While Cohen's "Borat" took on issues of racism, war and anti-Semitism, "Brüno" splits its time between the cult of celebrity and homophobia. If "Borat" was a perfect 10, "Brüno" scores a strong 8.

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