[DISCLAIMER: First of all, though I might have the film “Bruno” as a sponsor ad, please realize that it’s an ad that you are free to click on. Furthermore, if you did click on it, all of the ad revenue goes to “The Children’s Miracle Network.” I’m only mentioning this because I will make grandiose statements — such as “Brüno” is “the greatest gay film ever made” — without sounding like a sell-out…]
Sacha Baron Cohen is a genius. He managed to transform a completely shallow, hypersexualized, & cartoonish gay character into someone we end up rooting for. He also managed to show us the other side of homophobic people: they are very compassionate folks who just happened to be conservative with anything sexual. And, more importantly, Mr. Cohen just placed a mirror in all of our faces as to just how shallow, hypersexualized, and cartoonish our world really is. From the straights to the gays, to the blacks to the whites, and the religious to the faithless, the world is a melting pot of hypocrisy and fanaticism. Enter Brüno. Quite possibly the greatest gay film ever made that managed to make extensive usage of male genitalia to make his, well, point.
First and foremost, this film is satire. And it’s supposed to be an offensive satire, at that. However, for the life of me, I could not find it offensive at all. I think it’s because Brüno is such an off-the-wall caricature of a sexual deviant that we ultimately find him harmless. He just happened to be gay. He’s basically like a gay Deuce Bigelow of sorts. He’s also like a gay Forrest Gump who travels around the world and succeeds in making a fool out of everyone (if so, do not open his box of chocolates).
The hilarious part is he is completely well-meaning and heartfelt with every single situation he becomes a part of. Regardless of whether a certain scene appears to be more staged than others, you can’t help but both cringe at what Brüno does and say while also fearing for his life. And, to be fair, as much as we end up laughing at the reactions of Brüno’s victims, we also feel sympathetic towards them. It’s unbelievable how Mr. Cohen managed to bring out the compassionate and human side of homophobic people. For example, the “Sex & The City Rednecks” scene (which we have seen countless times) ended up showing these gun-toting country boys being extremely polite and tolerant to the innuendos and advances of an overtly sexual male. In fact, in that very scene, Brüno was definitely the villain of that moment and we can’t help but root on for our victimized trio.
That’s what’s so great about the movie. Everyone is both sympathetic and unsympathetic at the same time.
I mean, the self-defense instructor teaching Brüno how to protect himself from “dildos” (just one of the many gut-busting scenes I had to suffer from) actually called homosexuals “very nice people.” As a gay person, that comment was unexpectedly pleasant and I was glad that scenes such as that were in the movie. It gave a fair and honest light on homophobic people.
Thought that I won’t post anything “bear”-related? Ha!… Brüno interviews Greg Stamper (Sponsor of a Christian Rock Festival). Mr. Stamper definitely has his strong beliefs but his earnest explanations are difficult to disagree with. Or perhaps I’m just blinded by his woof factor. 😉
Be that as it may, the film did not cheap out from exposing the darker side of homophobia. These horrific scenes come at the expense of the mob mentality: the predominantly African-American community in a daytime talk show and the predominantly straight white people in an Ultimate Fighting Championship-like auditorium. I did laugh at these scenes, yet a part of me was genuinely terrified at what heterosexuals felt about homosexuals.
Though the film is not truly offensive, it is 100% obscene. This film definitely pushes its R-rating to the fullest. As a warning, Brüno not only shows his private part, he really shows his private part. Scenes such as that one is probably why GLAAD is not too happy with the film as they claim that it reinforces gay stereotypes. Unfortunately, they are missing this one minor detail: Brüno is, first and foremost, an overtly sexual person. He could have been played by a straight man and the message would still be the same (though it won’t have the same type of impact). GLAAD should just back down as they are only letting the homophobic people know that Brüno’s stereotypes are truly gay stereotypes. They are doing more harm than good.
Surprisingly, there is a story and a message. One that caught me off-guard is that it was a love story. A pretty twisted and bizarre one, but a love story nevertheless. I have officially fallen in love with Lutz (played by Gustaf Hammersten). And throughout Brüno’s travels, he showed us a world of intolerance, shallowness, and the extremities of human sexuality — from the repressed to the overtly sexual. Also, where else can you find a hardcore rapper who says that gay is “okay”?
In short, it’s a great film. It is also truly one of the funniest film I’ve seen this year. Because and despite of its obscenities, it’s a film with a tremendous loving heart that exposes our world as a very funny place. Brüno, with all of his antics and shenanigans to achieve superstardom, makes us realize that everything else in this world is fleeting and that the only thing that matters is love.