Screenwriters: Sacha Baron Cohen, Anthony Hines, Dan Mazer, Jeff Schaffer
Starring: Sacha Baron Cohen, Gustaf Hammarsten
Running time: 83 mins
"Ich was going to be the biggest Austrian superstar since Hitler."
With Sacha Baron Cohen's faux fashionista Brüno outlining his mission statement in such bold terms, it's plain to see that good taste was never on the agenda. Yet while his new movie is highly outrageous, many moments of sheer comedy genius will leave jaws aching with laughter once they've been scooped off the popcorn-encrusted cinema floor.
Cohen is in inspired form in his role as a 'fish out of water' reporter, who heads to America with a film crew and an assistant he doesn't always see eye to eye with (but ends up getting very close to on a hotel room bed). He samples various parts of American culture, and exposes ignorance, homophobia and hatred during interview segments with an array of real people, religious nutters, instructors and minor celebrities. Erm, deja vu anyone?
Yet while the structure and thematic similarities with Borat are far too strong, Brüno is never in danger of being derailed due to its frequent hilarity and stunning shock value. Once the patchy opening section is out of the way, involving some naughty shenanigans with a pygmy and a champagne bottle, mega camp Brüno's encounters with 'kissable' gay converters, dildo-armed karate instructors, kid-exploiting parents, anal bleachers and Harrison Ford are just a fraction of the fast-paced movie's ascent into the realms of genius.
Sacha Baron Cohen's performance is incredible to watch. Totally immersed in the character, even during moments when his safety is in genuine danger, he intricately flits between taking centre stage with his outlandishly flamboyant behaviour and letting his 'victims' unravel just enough rope to hang themselves with. Speaking of uncoiling long dangly things, there is no way you will ever see Milli Vanilli in the same light once Brüno has got to grips with one of the ill-fated pop band's members - and via a séance too!
Certain to launch countless lawsuits, Brüno is guilty of being both unbelievably crude and side-splittingly funny. While it's certainly very close to Borat at times, as well as the proverbial bone, with Sacha Baron Cohen in such fine form almost anything is forgivable. Even the slightly contrived celeb-packed finale. But after one scathing gag halfway through, it's unlikely that a certain Mr Mel Gibson will be overwhelmed with benevolence and forgiveness. High five!
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