What can we expect from Sacha Baron Cohen's latest film? Well, if you've seen Da Ali G Show, Ali G In Da House and Borat, then you know exactly what to expect: ridiculous accents, over-the-top risque humor and unsuspecting Americans caught on film doing and saying things that they probably should have thought twice about. Of course, Bruno has a lot to live up to, because Cohen has been shocking America (and Britain) for years, and he's done some things that are too shocking to top. Here are ten moments where Cohen knocked us for a loop.
This is what happens when Odie goes on sabbatical: Angelina Jolie's birthing gets treated like an M. Night Shyamalan movie, Will Smith makes Wild Wild West 2, and Sherlock Holmes turns into Superbad. As we gleefully await Wanted Woman's coochie-centric press conference, due this afternoon, let's talk about why Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is doing somersaults in his grave.
My feelings about Bruno are very complicated, and to try and condense my opinions about the movie in a few paragraphs is going to be a challenge. But I can tell you that if the goal of this documentary was simply to provoke discussion, it's wildly successful in its attempts. First of all, Sacha Baron Cohen is the bravest person I've ever seen. He puts volatile people in the most confrontational situations imaginable, throwing their worst nightmares in their faces with no mercy, and he never breaks character. He's masterful, like a samurai of conflict, and it's unremittingly impressive. But here's the thing about Bruno: it's a fearless and undeniably successful skewering of bigotry and evil at times, but often it's just a bunch of ridiculous pranks that I would argue don't really say anything conclusive about its subjects.
A reminder to all Americans: Read the fine print. A judge in New York has just thrown out several more lawsuits against 20th Century Fox by some of the slow-on-the-uptake citizens who we all laughed at in Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan. The judge in the case ruled that the three plaintiffs--the driver's ed teacher who gets behind the wheel with Borat, and the two etiquette coaches with whom he sat down to dinner -- all consented to appearing in a "documentary-style movie" by accepting money for their efforts and signing releases that freed the filmmakers from liability.
When I read in Variety that Sacha Baron Cohen (Borat, Da Ali G Show) was up to his old tricks again, I hoped that they were talking about the trailer for the Madagascar sequel. "They've got to be joking!" I yelled before my screening of Kung Fu Panda. Unfortunately, that's really happening. What wasn't happening was the mixed martial arts match advertised in Fort Smith, Arkansas, on June 6th. Courtesy of Baron Cohen's gay Austrian character, Bruno, a competitive cage match turned into a love connection. Cameras recorded the ensuing mayhem, and it'll be on a screen near you in May of 2009.
In the grand tradition of Jackass, from the guy who brought you Borat, it's Bruno! ...You know, if you like that sort of thing. "That sort of thing" being Sacha Baron Cohen pushing the buttons of real-life Americans, and discovering that we don't like having our buttons pushed. I, for one, can take it or leave it, but Omar and Pablo take it and loooove it! To celebrate the release of the Bruno trailer, the Gallaga brothers put on their finest mesh shirts to break down the comedy (and the words that take up valuable comedy space) for us. Check it out below, or watch it here!