Sacha Baron Cohen struck comedy gold and financial riches with Borat, his popular anti-Semitic foreign character that skewered American ignorance and xenophobia. Now, he’s back at it as Bruno, an extremely gay Austrian TV host who travels across America in hopes of being famous. The problem this time is that the Borat formula just doesn’t work the same with this character. Borat at heart had an innocence to him that made his outrageous statements tolerable, but Bruno is mostly obnoxious and you feel pity for the dupes that he annoys. The Cohen-Larry Charles technique of crash interviews snares some high profile victims like Congressman Ron Raul and Paula Abdul, but the movie is also thinly staged with corporate compliance from NBC/Universal opening doors for Cohen. There are a small number of worthy targets, from gay brainwashing counselors to stage parents willing to submit their children to anything for a buck, but the best is saved for an Arkansas fighting ring. It’s depressing that a bunch of people foaming at the mouth to see violence would become so incensed and repulsed by men kissing. Regardless, this movie is a string of unfunny skits slapped together with the message of breaking down homophobia. My question to Cohen: how exactly are you going to rid people of homophobia by inundating them with over-the-top gay stereotypes? Doesn’t that reconfirm what they feel? Bruno doesn’t make you feel uncomfortable because he?s gay; he makes you feel uncomfortable because he’s a jerk.
Nate’s Grade: C