Sunday, July 12, 2009

BRÜNO

BRÜNO is a very funny but very raunchy movie. In many ways, it's funnier than BORAT, which I enjoyed tremendously, and there are some similarities, but there are a lot of differences as well. This film is about a gay main character, and the sexual content of the film is very strong. I'm not at all a prude, but I was shocked that the film did not get an NC-17 rating. The film is smart in that it puts a lot of offensive material right up front, so that anyone offended will leave right away. (In fact, BRÜNO gets its first laugh in the Universal logo, before the film begins.) There is a pretty explicit music montage near the opening with Brüno and his boyfriend engaging in various forms of anal sex for several minutes. Then there is an entire scene dedicated to a close-up of a semi-erect penis being swung around while dancing. Granted, it is very, very funny, but that has to limit the potential audience of the film.

Also limiting the audience is the amount of gay material, which I imagine may offend some gay men as it plays off of stereotypes. In reality, the film is very supportive of gays. Like Borat, even though the film is a comedy, there is a somewhat depressing undertone to the film. Both films use the technique of placing the character in the real world with real people. In this film, the gay character visits two different religious men to get cured of his homosexuality, as well as going on a hunting trip with three clearly homophobic men. Much of the humor comes from the real-world men realizing that Brüno is gay. We often laugh at uncomfortable scenes, and this movie taps into that.

Interestingly, the most squirm-inducing scene is a visit to (what appears to be) a real "swingers" party, where Brüno stands inches away from group sex and watches. It's strangely uncomfortable, even after watching all of the previously mentioned sex scenes. The film does do a good job - perhaps even better than Borat - of mixing the real-world scenes with scenes that have been scripted and use actors. It's much harder in this film to see the difference and tell where reality ends and the movie begins.

I recommend the film, but only if you have a strong stomach for sexual content. This is definitely not for kids!
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