How to Talk About Bruno Without Using the Verb Sashay

Dear Millicent,

The summer movie gorging continues.  Yesterday, I saw Bruno.  I saw so much of Bruno that his urethral opening talked to me and said his name.  Yes, I have seen Bruno.  Quick list of reactions below:

  • The first five minutes, especially when the title music started playing, were enchanting.  I settled in for some fizzy raucous incisive entertainment.
  • Then I spent the majority of the movie not laughing.  The jokes were funny, but also often of the one note variety, like the SNL sketches that play out for three minutes past their prime.  I often found the idea of the scenes funnier than the scenes themselves.
  • I think my favorite moments of the Baron Cohen characters are when we see a glimmer of the creator himself, marveling at the predicament  he has gotten his character and himself into.  Here, he gets whipped by a naked woman who has an extreme, well, everything.  Yes, he is an actor who has created the situation, and yes, he is Bruno, but there are these little microseconds where we can see Baron Cohen exposed in his own reactions.  The same happens when he has created a situation of absolute entropy or ridiculousness and maintains total control–part of the entertainment is watching him expertly not flinch or reveal the joke, a pleasure similar to watching James Bond.
  • I have never seen more penis in a movie.
  • Like Borat, the movie captures very ugly snapshots of the American character.  It is amazing because of this.  It is uncomfortable and not funny because of this.  It is also important because of this, even if everything has been skewed and is truth without actual truth.
  • It is fun to make fun of people and what they will do for fame, and this is an especially apt critique of modern culture. But, the joke feels easy (though he does makes some very uneasy jokes for a grand effect), and I wonder what Baron Cohen has done himself for fame.  I hope he is a virtuous commentator akin to Jon Stewart, and have no proof otherwise…
  • The trailers–more proof that we are now middle aged: The movie Couples Retreat.  We are the demographic for that thing (it stars Vince Vaughn, Jon Favreau, Kristen Bell, Jason Bateman), and it distinctly reminds me of movies my mom went to go see in the 80s.  I know we are not exact age, but we are now part of that group, or at least part of the marketing attempt.  It is weird.  I am disoriented by this.

I should have more thoughts at the moment, but it is tomorrow and I have to get up in what is now today’s morning.

Hope you are crafting mosaics with portraits of Roman gods, or botanical herbs,




2 Responses to How to Talk About Bruno Without Using the Verb Sashay

  1. Bob says:

    Yeah, I totally agree with the ‘premise of the scenario funnier than the scenario itself’ thing you said. And I knew it was supposed to be funny, but couldn’t get a natural laugh throughout most of the movie. There were some exceptions, I cannot say now because I would have to pick them all out, when I chuckled for a minute straight.

    Now it’s been three days after the movie, and when I think back on it, the movie just gets funnier and funnier to the point where I just randomly laugh in the middle of wal-mart like some sociopath. So I guess that’s its geniune appeal, it’s so shocking or its played out too long so you don’t really laugh, but the replay value I think will be great for a film like this.

  2. Carla Fran says:

    Thanks for your comment, Bob. The replay value is interesting to consider. The other day I was thinking of how little I had thought about Bruno after seeing it. One joke that has stuck is the detail of Bruno’s body hair, and how it is mimicked in the full sweater nude suit he wears in the beginning.

    Will this be funnier on DVD? Critics have said that Bruno was one of the first movies to show the power of the internet as sales fell off immediately after the opening weekend because of instant blog and social media reactions. Perhaps the DVD is their best bet, where an audience is less like to spread judgment because they haven’t spent $10-$15 for a ticket, and have lower expectations and the homier creature comforts of couch and snacks.

    I would probably watch it again if it was on Netflix Instant…but you’re right, some of the laughs are pitch perfect, and worth the guffaws or gravity that they provoke.

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