Borat in a jumpsuit? “Whadevva!”

Sacha Baron Cohen conceived Ali-G and Borat as idiot-innocents to expose casual racism and xenophobia. Bruno is an idiot-innocent designed to shake out latent homophobia.

Next up: Baron Cohen in camp but convincing drag (Brenda? Bridget?) taking on institutionalised sexism…

Maybe not, but rather than evolve and set up a different gag, Baron Cohen continues to move sideways – tweaking his tried and trusted raw material until it’s surface-fresh.

As a movie, Bruno is funny, filthy and lands a few sharp punches on the noses of facile media whores, preening fashionistas, and bearpit talk-show hosts. But as a character who already feels vaguely familiar (catchphrases, stupid outfits, whipping-boy sidekick), 90-odd minutes in his company is a big ask.

Ali-G and Borat began life as bite-sized regular TV slots. Bruno has more or less arrived fully formed – but, as with his predecessors, less would definitely be more.

Baron Cohen has smartly tried to keep the conceit alive by refusing to do interviews out of character. But as a result, Bruno’s barbs have been blunted by over-exposure - the joke feels old barely half-way through.

Three years ago, Borat was a series of fused-together TV sketches that just about hung together as a feature. Bruno is like browsing through a bunch of YouTube videos – most of them individually hilarious, but stodgy and bloating in a single sitting.

Baron Cohen’s strength is in his suicidal commitment: taunting a cage-fighting crowd about their hetero credentials, graphically simulating analingus in front of a mortified ‘psychic’, interviewing the leader of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs and insisting that Osama Bin Laden looks like “a homeless Santa Claus”…

But for every edgy showpiece stunt, there’s a clearly scripted (or at least pre-arranged) prank that clunks – and a cut to a pointless, filler sub-plot that tracks Bruno’s relationship with his dour handler.

The writing is tight and Baron Cohen breezes through the shonky sections on sheer audacity, but it’s a film of great bits – not a great film.

“Al Qaeda is so 2001!” Bruno informs the Al-Aqsa guy. Uhuh. And Bruno is all very 2006...



As phoney and frustrating as it is funny. Baron Cohen’s comedy-outsider schtick is slick but well and truly found out. The clothes may be new and more fabulous, but the emperor seriously needs to go shopping.

Film Details

User Reviews

    • regieeallen

      Jul 16th 2009, 18:59


      It's funny Watch it

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    • theVman

      Jul 16th 2009, 21:59


      just thought it was Borat again - same story, same plot points, in the same order and pacing - very disappointing

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    • parker

      Jul 21st 2009, 8:32


      awesome movie. better than borat, but that could just be because i never really cared about borat on the ali g show. i prefered bruno. Probably the most shocking movie i have ever seen. But really funny!!! not for the faint-hearted

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    • Anaki

      Jul 29th 2009, 16:03

      Brüno is hilarious! although i wonder if all scenes were really genuine, some could have been planned and even acted out... either way, the genius of borat is still here! best part: "i gave him a traditional african name, O.J.! hahaha... check out videoclips of the movie:

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