movies: just say Brü-NO

It’s no secret that I don’t plan to see or rent Brüno, Sacha Baron Cohen’s latest movie based on awkward situations and ambush comedy surrounding an uncanny valley-like main character.

snippet from review of Bruno recommending it only for fans of Cohen movies

There have been a few articles out about him playing gayface and how the portrayal is offensive, but my main reason is that I just don’t care for the utter and often unprovoked ridicule of others as shown in his tv and film projects. Having grown up nerdy, shy, queer, awkward and above all black in the Georgia ‘burbs, I know what it’s like to be made fun of for no reason. About the only thing that makes it clever* these days is that reality show producers and talk show hosts have figured out a way to make millions out of the same process and make the general populace feel better about themselves by being able to laugh at the “freaks”.

But the best thing to me is–even though the Express reviewer managed to point out good and bad points in the film–that the little infographic says: For Fans of: Ali G Indahouse & Borat. In other words, Cohen’s crap is in a class all by itself, but if you like that sort of thing then you’ll love this.**

About the only positive thing I can say about Cohen’s comedy is that he’s able to create characters that are outrageous, yet just believable enough that people are fooled. And as the lawsuits have already started up about this film, it seems like people are far happier to be part of a gag when they’re actually let in on the joke. But then what would be the fun of that? 🙄

* Clever smart, not clever entertaining.

** My preferred subtext to that is, “I don’t judge.“†

† To any friends or other members of the community that have seen and love this movie, we’re still cool. It’s not on the dealbreaker list. I mean it ain’t like he’s Perez Douchington… yet.

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11 Responses

  1. Lindsay says:

    I still haven’t seen Borat and have no desire to see this either. I’m really disappointed. I always thought his characters were very original and engaging (in the literal sense- I couldn’t look away, even when they were doing something awful). Also I heard an NPR interview with him where he came across as very interesting and thought- provoking. But the trailer strikes me as plotless, pointless, mean-spirited cruelty.

    On the other hand, I do like the fact that he blows up the notion of “baby as fashion accessory.” That makes me happy.

  2. brian says:

    @Lindsay: There’s no denying that he’s funny and some of his jokes absolutely kill. But it brings this thought to mind: Just because you call yourself a comedian, doesn’t mean that everything you do is funny. He just sets up his bits with such an overwhelmingly ridiculous premise that the hope is you won’t notice if/when he bombs.

  3. Fearless says:

    I’ve never understood the appeal of Sacha Baron Cohen, and yet I know that at some point I will be dragged, kicking and screaming, to see this film. That will be two hourse that I’ll never get back.
    .-= latest entry: In the spirit of my turning over a new leaf… =-.

  4. Fearless says:

    The very next item I clicked on in my reader turned out to be this:

    So perfect, that I had to come back and share.

  5. Kyle says:

    Admittedly, I’ve never seen Baron Cohen’s shows or movies, or even his appearances on the talk show circuit, but from the buzz and the ads, I get the sense he is all about deflating everyone, high and low, deserving and undeserving, and yet without the saving grace of self-deprecation.

    Chelsea Handler skewers a lot of people—mostly celebrities and wannabe celebrities, but not always—but she doesn’t hesitate to take her own self down as well. That kind of humor I can get behind.
    .-= latest entry: it’s almost like starting over =-.

  6. brian says:

    @Fearless: That was so brilliant, I edited your comment to include the picture here. Love it!

    @Kyle: I still haven’t hopped on the Handler bandwagon, but I hear just as many comments about her lack of funny too. I’ve noticed more and more that we’re entering a cultural age where people are a lot more honest about what they don’t find funny while at the same time there’s still an overwhelming sense that everyone thinks the same things are funny.

  7. Freddie says:

    Nah, Cohen is a commited artist living in a wildly expanding cultural universe. He does not pick on the defenseless, he detonates self-impotant, unexamimed folks living in delusional grandiose.

    His movies are certaily over the top, but hey if we have sacred cows that we still believe are objectively more sacred them anyone else’s cows, then we could use a goodinward laugh. Just sayin.

  8. Esprix says:

    As funny as Baron-Cohen can be (he was quite entertaining in Sweeney Todd), I agree with your observations about this style of comedy. Watching someone get fooled, even if they’re not being made fun of directly, just makes me feel very uncomfortable – I empathize with the person and sit there squirming until it’s over.

    I disagree with the person in the linked article about the Daily Show outtakes, only because in this day and age if you don’t know someone from the Daily Show is kidding then you’ve been living under a rock; still, I suppose the caveat remains that if they really have been living under a rock, an interview with them will make me uncomfortable.

    I just want everyone to be in on the joke – THEN it’s funny to me, even if it makes the target squirm.
    .-= latest entry: Anybody got a flamethrower? (No, put me down!) =-.

  9. Esprix says:

    Oh, and I also agree that I may not like his style of comedy, but I do love the characters he creates, and am curious to see what he’ll do next.
    .-= latest entry: Anybody got a flamethrower? (No, put me down!) =-.

  10. shindo says:

    I did see Bruno last night (I’m too cheap to get the umlaut). There were some funny moments and some not so funny. Unlike Borat, there wasn’t a significantly traumatic moment as the inflicting of the trauma came in smaller doses. I want a minute here and a minute there and another minute somewhere else of my life back. In a commentary on reality tv, he did edit things out of their real context to serve the story (any cries of recognition were not there).

    The funny thing is last night, Sean tweeted me: “I’m sorry to hear that Shindo. Did you lose a bet or something?” No, so I’ll take responsibility for my bad taste and judgment in seeing the film. 😉

  11. brian says:

    @shindo: That’s ok Shin, we love you (and your bad taste) anyway… :mrgreen:

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