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Starring: Sacha Baron Cohen, Gustaf Hammarsten,

Director: Larry Charles

Writer(s): Sacha Baron Cohen, Anthony Hines, Dan Mazer, Jeff Schaffer

Cinematography: Anthony Hardwick, Wolfgang Held

Original Score: Erran Baron Cohen

Running Time: 83 Mins.

Borat was so 2006″, so says the tagline for Sacha Baron Cohens latest opus, Bruno. Well, that may be, but the concept clearly isn’t because Bruno is very much a retread of everything that worked in Borat, and then some. Treading much the same narrative as its forebear, take one larger than life character, have him outcast from his country and send him to America to harrass/interview/interact with celebs and unsuspecting members of the public to hilarious effect.

So this time rather than an imbecile from Kazhakstan we have an imbecile from the fashion world, the Austrian Bruno, who after a very funny mishap involveing a velcro suit (in one of the films tamer jokes) is disowned by the fashion world. He wants to get famous, so whereelse would he go, yes your getting the idea. Just to hammer those similarities home furthermore is a besotted assisistant, Bruno’s Azamat if you like, as played on this occasion by Gustaf Hammarstan though there is no doubting his comedic timing is very far removed from his counterpart’s, this though is hardly a major problem as you will be laughing too much at Bruno himself to care.

This being about an overtly gay man you can guess from the off what a lot of the jokes revolve around and they are hardly sophisticated, nuanced this is not, but thereis no denying that it is quite possibly one of the funniest experiences you will have in a film all year. The downside being that in his attempts to shock often Baron Cohen goes too far, futher even that Borat’s most excessive moments, with many scenes of male nudity and quite graphic sex that are neither funny nor shocking in a good way making them at worst pointless asides in an otherwise very funny film.

It is generally in taking the focus of the jokes away from the sexual and in focusing on the “stupid” side of Bruno that the character is at his funniest, with a scene concerning a mix up between houmus and Hammas being a highpoint. Bruno’s encounters with the public are hit and miss, though admittedly more of the former, and you have to consider how real and unsuspecting the members of the public actually were, surely by now people are aware enough of what Baron Cohen look’s like to know they are being “Punk’d” in effect. With this in mind though I’d be lying if I said they weren’t funny even if they were staged.

The sad thing is you have to wonder how much he can get away with this routine, I’ve no doubt we will see at least another effort along these lines but in truth it needs mixing up a bit before it totally wears out it’s welcome, as it really isn’t enough to simply shock your audience. Though on this evidence Baron Cohen has no shame, which can only be a good thing for us, for behind the hilarity lies a simple truth, that characters such as Bruno and Borat make us realise how absurd public reaction to certain issues is, and really that’s the funny thing.

VERDICT

After watching Bruno, and if Borat were not evidence enough of this fact, that Sacha Baron Cohen will do literally anything in the name of laughter. That some of it doesn’t quite hit the mark is an unfortunate but inevitable byproduct of this.

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