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Posts Tagged ‘Mockumentary’

Bruno (2009)

Bruno Screenshot
The Scorn Watch

As a lover of Da Ali G Show, I eagerly looked forward to Borat. My anticipation was rewarded with a film that largely bore the spirit of a show that took aim at everyone and everything. Borat had the same winning combination of low brow humor and biting satire that made Da Ali G show a success. Thusly, I looked forward to Bruno too —- in part because the character on the TV show seemed even more outrageously funny than Borat. Not surprisingly after all the hype (Baron Cohen marketed the heck out of it!) and all of the exposure the Borat got, this one was a letdown.

It still has that familiar combination of low brow humor and satire, where one isn’t sure whether to laugh or squirm in one’s seat and so one ends up doing both at the same time. However, this one comes off as being scripted rather than spontaneous in catching people making asses of themselves or revealing themselves as narrow minded bigots or both! Certainly Da Ali show and Borat, at least in the interactions with the unsuspecting person in the frame seemed utterly real , whatever one’s tolerance for the gross and crude humor of the set pieces. In Bruno I found the set piece at the end less offensive and gross than in Borat, but the interactions with people from real life were a lot more artificial and the humor was more tepid. Maybe people have wised up to the notion that anything you say has the opportunity to be lampooned before a global audience and are not as unguarded before a camera.

Sure, the film has its funny moments – Bruno’s interaction with the gay conversion preacher or his appearance on a talk show with an African American audience. However the laughter doesn’t erupt as naturally or continuously as it did with Borat. On balance, the film is still worth a watch for Baron Cohen’s utter lack of self consciousness in being ridiculous and his gifted comedic talents. At about an hour and 20 minutes the film’s brisk pace offers some good laughs and pulls off some satiric moments.

If there is one major peeve I have with the film it is with the ending. After parodying the celebrity culture for well over an hour, the film does exactly what it seeks to ridicule. It panders shamelessly to celebrity – Bono, Sting, Elton John and Snoop Dog among others appear with Bruno to sing a song, albeit with funny lyrics, to close the film. Somehow that seems like the ultimate betrayal……………!

Scorn-Card: B

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