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Brüno: Who’s in on it and who to laugh at

July 9, 2009

bruno 1

By Melanie Addington

As Published in the Oxford Town

“Brüno” will likely be one of the hot topics this weekend after it begins at Oxford’s Malco tomorrow.
While the character is not new, he is no less controversial.

Sacha Baren Cohen first created Brüno in 1998 for the Uk Comedy Central (at the time known as Paramount Comedy Channel) and later carried on his adventures in his Da Ali G Show for the popular skit “Funkytime with Brüno.”

Setting the stage for his America tour, Brüno apparently gets fired after disrupting a fashion show in Milan. He decides to head to America to interview people about gay-life in America as well as perpetuate his own self-induced celebrity as a famous fashion reporter.

Similar in concept to Borat, Cohen once again reveals the underbelly of America’s reactions to anything foreign, this time touching on the nerve of homophobics. Although hilarious skits make up most of the movie, many critics are panning the film for not providing much of a message or further exploring the topics.
One of his interviewees, Dr. Paul  Cameron, chair of the Family Research, had no idea he was in the movie until the New York Post called for an interview this week. He explained that Brüno came to him for advice over a year ago with his producer saying that he was suicidal and needed help. Cameron told the Post that the man did push some boundaries but that they talked for two or three hours.

Lloyd Robinson, a talent agent in L.A. is also one of the interviewees that had no idea who Brüno was and takes part in a scene where Brüno is trying to break into acting.

Chris Stevens, a deputy sheriff in Alabama supposedly arrests Brüno, however, he told the Post that the event never occurred. Also interviewed in Alabama is Pastor Jody Trautwein who counseled Brüno on how to come out of the gay lifestyle.
In on the schtick is talk show host Richard Bey where in the film Brüno brings his newly adopted child to discuss unique parenting styles. The scene brought much ire from the audience with numerous guests walking out after Brüno explains he has named the child a “traditional African American name, O.J.” The child also wears a Gayby shirt and serves as his toy to prove his fame, like Madonna or Angelina Jolie.

The scene is one of the most outrageous in the film, although the wrestling match is sure to be the most talked about scene in the film. I will leave that one to your own discovery.

For me, when I saw a few sneak peek scenes at SXSW film festival this year, the one disturbing scene is when Brüno is interviewing real parents for a casting shoot for the baby scene and asks numerous real parents whether their child would be OK with loud noises, bees or being thrown from a building. Shockingly, almost all of the parents have no problem with any of the more and more outrageous questions, so desperate to get their child a starring role.

When he asks one mother whether her child could lose 10 of its 30 pounds before next week, guess what she replies quite eagerly?

One woman did not appreciate the portrayal. Richelle Olson is suing Cohen over an alleged attack at a bingo hall, something that TMZ reports does not appear to be true from any of the footage. Most of the others on film told the Post that actually Cohen and director Larry Charles were respectful when filming, despite some of the over the top antics.

Another scene, the Latoya Jackson interview, has been cut but rumor has it you can find it on YouTube. Of course there is also Paula Abdul, Ron Paul and Harrison Ford amongst plenty of others that are caught up in the mockumentary. Its anyone’s guess whether we will be laughing with them or at them.

See the trailer below:

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