Thursday, July 16, 2009

Bruno blahs

In between Iceland posts, I want to weigh in with a quick review of “Bruno,” which I went to see last night with four gay guys. As one said, and we all agreed, it was “flat.” Yes, flat, as in boring. I wasn’t even offended. In fact Scott and I left midway and went out for a quite delightful dinner. Could I say I loved “Borat”? Well the actual experience was a kind of torture, but that was the point. “Borat” was brilliant, a case of inspired political activism and a cultural milestone. It worked because Sacha Baron Cohen’s transformation was seamless—he was Borat. Robert Irwin and Olafur Eliasson talk about art that makes you aware of yourself, “seeing yourself seeing” as it were—well “Borat” is the ultimate example. Because no matter what Borat does, no matter how outrageous or disgusting he is, the person you’re most surprised by is yourself when you find yourself rooting for him. Bruno, on the other hand, is wooden, a schtick. And to what end? I’m still not sure what the point is, or what audience Baron Cohen was trying to reach. And there's no pacing; it just thrashes on. It’s sad because having been a fan ever since I encountered “Da Ali G. Show” many years ago on British TV where Bruno was my favorite character, I think Baron Cohen is a genius. Oh well.


Anonymous said...

Reviews in the New Yorker and the New York Times, among other places, have questioned Sascha Baron Cohen on making fun of obvious targets yet collaborating with superstars that could use a little tweaking of their own (Pamela Anderson, Elton John, Sting?).

Like you, I think he's really talented, but he needs to come up with a new shtick!

KRCampbellArt said...

I hadn't thought of it that way but watching Borat was torture. I was convinced I would never see another SBC film. So last week I went to see Public Enemies and there was a preview for his new film. I hated to say I laughed at a lot of what was in that preview but that won't be enough to get me in the seat. Thanks for your review.