Gay rights is a huge topic this year, and rightfully so. After Proposition 8 in California and other gay marriage laws being passed in states like New Hampshire and Connecticut, it’s on everyone’s minds. While not exactly a sequel to 2007’s Borat, but still familiar territory, Bruno has hit theaters at what seems to be the perfect time.
Bruno is a character from Sasha Baron Cohen’s HBO show, The Ali G Show. After getting kicked off of his hit Austrian fashion show, we follow Bruno’s quest to become “uber famous”: first as a Hollywood celebrity, then a hit interviewer, and finally as a humanitarian. While on this quest his “assistant’s assistant” Lutz is chasing after Bruno’s fleeting affections.
What this film suffers from, which didn’t seem to hinder Borat so much, is just how plot driven it is. The filmmakers certainly had a story to tell, but the interviews and celebrity candids tell the story enough—our country, despite how progressive or culturally advanced it may seem, has a serious homophobia problem. I didn’t need a plot to tell me that, though. Borat felt like a journey, and this felt like a narrative, which I didn’t go to the theater wanting or expecting.
I still laughed a ton at this movie, and it was just as shocking, if not more so, than Borat. Sasha Baron Cohen’s got a lot of guts, and it’s more obvious with this character. It’s amazing what he can get some people to do; between Paula Abdul’s willingness to sit on a person posing as furniture to parents agreeing to let their children pose for pictures on crucifixes. He even gets Bono, Elton John, and Snoop Dog together at the end to perform a charity song about peace.
And it’s amazing what he does to himself, full nudity and almost getting killed by a flying chair in a stadium full of homophobics included. Afterward, I couldn’t help feeling like the best moments were ruined for me in the trailer (especially the “terrorist” interview and Bruno screaming “START THE CAR!!!!” through the streets of Israel), so I wouldn’t recommend watching too many of them if you haven’t already.
As funny as Bruno was, it was also an incredibly revealing social commentary on the gay rights movement, both in the United States and the rest of the world. In between laughing my ass off in the theater, I was reminded of not only how far we’ve come, but just how far we still need to go.