Starring Sacha Baron Cohen
In Borat, Sacha Baron Cohen coded a pointed finger at racism behind a cascade of laughs. Whether or not you completely got the humor or the message, it still managed to be funny. His follow-up, the similarly targeted Brüno gets a lot of big laughs, too, or maybe they just seem that way because of the silence that surrounds them. The comparisons to Borat will end here. Some people will want to know how it stacks up, the answer is that it's not as good or as insightful as Borat, and a lot more desperate for your attention. Cohen is less a comedian than a vulgarian and a sociologist, at least when he's in one of his Ali G Show characters. There are no real jokes, just a guy working without a net, which is always uncomfortable to watch. Beneath the humor, though, Cohen does explore and expose bigotry and meanness, but even those are only layers of the human nature, and that's what he's really after. Brüno is a gay Austrian fashion reporter. His show is the most influential fashion program in the German-speaking world...outside of Germany. When he's fired for crashing Fasion Week in Milan - literally - Brüno sets out for Los Angeles to become a star. The California scenes don't work very well; what's funny about an eccentric homosexual in L.A.? Cohen tries hard, but he doesn't always cross the finish line in the first chapter of his excursion. The film has better luck in the Middle East (or Middle Earth as he calls it), although his homosexuality is a complete non-factor. Brüno attempts to broker peace with Hammas and Israel, and believing he can become famous if he's kidnapped by radical Muslims, insults Osama bin Laden during an interview with one of the top terrorists in Lebanon.