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"Brüno"; a phlegm review by Gary Chew

GARY CHEW/Sacramento

Before lunging into this motion picture, here's a thought to take with you as you, hopefully, read on.

Quite simply, Sacha Baron Cohen is, inexorably for everyone, an Equal Opportunity Insultor. At the end of the day, there's no person, place or thing who/that will escape his outrageous barbs and clever puttings-on. So if you notice that, as you read these lines about "Brüno" the film and Brüno the man, I had some laughs seeing them, please also see my definition of this wacko's humor in the linked review of his first movie, "Borat." Or cutting to the chase to make it plainer: I support full rights for gay and Lesbian US citizens, but EXCUSE ME while I laugh my arse off at "Brüno."

Austrian fashionista Brüno is determined to become a giant media icon. That's the fuel for this film. He starts at the top, of course, and, of course, first goes to Los Angeles to put his name, as they say, up in lights. Brüno takes you through his downward spiral trying for the A-List to somewhere near the Y-List.

However, here's another list for you. It reveals just who or what Brüno offends in his frenetic attempt for fame:

  • Paula Abdul
  • Anti-Choice Supporters
  • Ron Paul
  • Opposing Sides in the Middle East
  • African-Americans
  • Parents
  • Anti-Gay Activists
  • Fundamentalist Christians
  • Jews
  • Persons Upset By Anal Allusions
  • Persons Upset By Full Frontal Male Nudity (and then some)
  • Persons Who Appreciate The Fine Art Of Pantomime
  • The US Military
  • Good Old Boys in Alabama
  • Heterosexual Swingers
  • Men Who Claim To Convert Gays To Straightness
  • Straight Pride Redneck Cage Wrestling Fans…and…
  • (Whoops, I almost forgot) Homosexuals
Brüno and baby

All seriousness aside, "Brüno" is pretty much a low-key movie that will play well for any on the first date whatever their sexual orientation.

Isolated moments of humor run rampant through the mockumentary. Some are really funny, but more often they're not so funny at all or just lame and gross.

"Borat" had its gross moments, as well, although fewer. My hunch is Cohen and his director, Larry Charles, went to the über gross segments more in "Brüno" due to the material not being as fresh as "Borat" and recalling crowd and media reaction to the outrageous nude fight scene in a motel between Borat and his manager Azamat Bagatov.

In a moment of lucidity, Brüno realizes he can't become an idol unless he presents himself as heterosexual. He even remarks that Tom Cruise, John Travolta and Kevin Spacey are all rugged heteros and big film stars. That revelation for Brüno is what brings the most humorous and somewhat frighteningly real scene into play.

Brüno is dressed as a very macho hunter type fellow who's a cage wrestler. In front of a mouth-frothing throng, Brüno is called a faggot by someone in the crowd. Brüno demands the shouter come down and into the cage so Brüno can whup his ass. Unknown to the crowd, the man who walks to the cage is Brüno's Austrian assistant, Lutz, (Gustaf Hammarsten) a guy who actually adores Brüno and is trying to help him to stardom.

They begin a vicious fight in the cage. The real crowd goes wild for the now closeted Brüno to put the intruder away. Then the pair suddenly changes mood and begins kissing and fondling. You can imagine how the homophobic spectators react. It's one of those true Hallmark moments only Brüno or Borat can give.

Big closer, too: Brüno is shown recording a piece of altruistic music in a studio. The words to the song are good. And so are the other singers shown on mic in turn doing the tune with Cohen: Sting, Bono, Slash, Chris Martin, Snoop Dogg and---none other than---Sir Elton John (on piano) are layin' down something on the track as well.

If Sir Elton allowed as much as to be in this rather confused and occasionally funny movie about a gay Austrian guy, I'm thinking the gay and Lesbian community can't get too upset.

Oh yes, Brüno advises that umlauts are very in this season. And finally: my keester was only slightly dislodged by laughter.

"Brüno" official site.

Opens at the Tulsa Cinemark am Freitag, 10. jüli.

Check Yahoo Movies-Tulsa for theaters and times.

Gary Chew can be reached at garychew@comcast.net,
Facebook.com/justin.playfair and Twitter.com/orwellingly.

Copyright © 2009, Gary Chew. All rights reserved.

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