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(2009)

Starring:

Chibundu Orukwowu

Chigozie Orukwowu

Clifford Bannagale

Gustav Hammarsten

Josh Meyers

Sasha Baron Cohen

Directed by:

Larry Charles

Rating: 5/10

US Certificate: R UK Certificate: 15

Hold on to your hats, on a wave of a Conservative backlash and megahype, comes Borat… sorry, Brüno. Sasha Baron Cohen’s latest creation is a “nineteen year old” gay Austrian fashionista, who journeys to America after being disgraced in his native country. Inevitably for a Cohen creation, Br?no meets and offends a menagerie of oddballs as he tries every trick in the book to climb the slippery slope of celebrity.

Where Borat gave the American public enough rope with which to hang themselves, Br?no puts them in the electric chair. There is no subtle outing of prejudice in a carefully constructed manner, instead Brüno tries to gross them out and get a reaction – although one that many would say is somewhat justified. Think of the hilarious naked fight scene from Borat – repeated in different guises for a whole ninety minutes. Cringingly watching an entire film through my fingers is not my idea of fun.

I don’t like making so many connections between Cohen’s two films but they are so similar in structure – a foreign personality comes to America on a voyage of discovery and then makes a spectacle of himself in front of a disbelieving, bigoted public. In Brüno, situations are set up with people who are very likely to kick off, so it is in no way shocking or surprising when they do. One of the main sticking points with this film is that Borat was naïve and charming and Brüno is repetitively obnoxious. I know his character is meant to be but it gets tiring. However, Cohen has to be given credit for his great characterisation. He has perfected Br?no’s Anglo-German wordplay, his choice of outfits are outrageously over-the-top and the mannerisms consistently camp.

Cohen certainly has guts. Who else would tell a feared Arabian warlord: “your king Osama looks like a dirty wizard or a homeless Santa Claus”? This Middle East excursion, however, just seems like a desperate attempt to push the humour to the extreme. Now that all three of Sasha Baron Cohen’s creations from English television’s Da Ali G Show have had a big screen airing it will be interesting to see where he goes next. Can he do good comedy without public participation?

It's Got: Some subtle comedy, Fearless acting

It Needs: More subtle and varied comedy

Alternatives:

Ali G In Da House, Borat, Crocodile Dundee 2

Summary

This less likeable re-run of Borat is just too repetitive.