Defending My Review of The Hangover
Before I discuss Bruno, I need to defend my review of The Hangover as well as my masculinity. My guy friends knocked me for not LOVING The Hangover. It was like I had just ordered MILD wings, asked for directions, or downed a pink drink.
I actually felt like Billy Madison defending his choice for favorite video game.
Kid: Mortal Kombat, on Sega Genesis, is the best game ever.
Billy Madison: I disagree. It is a very good game, but I think Donkey Kong is the greatest game ever.
Kid: Donkey Kong sucks!
Billy Madison: You know what? You suck!
Now replace Mortal Kombat with The Hangover. The Hangover was a very good movie, but it’s not the greatest ever. Since there are so few well made guys’ movies, men seem to overreact when a good one actually comes out.
So I stand by my review (Click here for my review): The Hangover makes for a really fun escape, and it is very funny. But it wasn’t “fall-out-of-my-seat, my-stomach-hurts-so-much-from-laughing-hilarious”—except for the last two minutes. Take those two minutes and multiply it by 45 and then you get…
Bruno was crude, raunchy, outrageous, graphic, over the top, wrong, and absolutely HILARIOUS! And that wasn’t the last two minutes; that was for the entire movie.
The biggest difference between Bruno and The Hangover is that it’s not going to appeal to as many people. Some will say it’s already been done by Borat (Bruno pushes the limit even more.) Some will say Sacha Baron Cohen is wearing out his welcome. Others will be turned off by the shock value laughs, and the infinite number of gay scenes.
My parents will be intrigued by the reviews. They will get excited to learn more about the newest pop culture icon. And even though I loved this movie, I pray that they don’t see it. This movie is not for them.
For those that follow Ali G and Borat, you will love this movie! The only knock is that Bruno is a shade under 90 minutes.
For those that don’t know a lot about Bruno, here are some things you might want to know: Bruno is an aspiring model from Austria. His main goal in life is to be uber-famous. And he is incredibly gay.
It was refreshing to see a character that is so up front and honest. The gay scenes in Bruno are not offensive, mocking, or mean. But instead, they are outrageous, shocking and hilarious. Sacha Baron Cohen crosses the line without hesitation. In one scene, he mimes a blow job for 3 minutes. Who does that? But he’s so committed to the absurdity, that not only does it work, but it’s also uproariously funny. His timing and improvisational skills are exceptional. And he is very clever; I can’t see anyone else pulling this off.
But Bruno does. He pulls off everything including lots of clothes. There is so much nudity that I’m shocked how this was only an R rated movie. And most of it is man on man love. For those that enjoy a talking penis, you’re in for a treat.
The story line is very basic and not all that important. Bruno is blackballed from Austria so he moves to LA so he can be famous. He tries several methods to reach success—starts his own TV show, tries to make a celebrity sex video, adopts a baby giving him the "traditional" African name OJ, (babies are huge in comedies this summer!) and attempts to make peace in the Middle East (yes, he goes there!)
Then he realizes that the most successful Hollywood icons, Tom Cruise, John Travolta, and Kevin Spacey, are all straight. So the final act is Bruno attempting to be heterosexual. He joins the Army, attends a Swingers party, goes hunting, and learns to defend himself against a man carrying dildos.
The scenes are equally shocking. The audience gasped at the start of each scene, thinking: “Is he really doing this? He’s going to die!” In the middle of each scene, we laughed out loud uncontrollably, thinking: “How is he doing this?” And finally, at the end of the scene, we were relieved: “Thank God, he didn’t die. What could he possibly do to top that?” And then the next scene would come and top the previous one.
Sacha Baron Cohen uses Bruno (just like Borat) to expose some of the most ignorant people in our country. And most of these people deserve it. He interviews stage Moms who will do ANYTHING for their babies to be in a commercial. He meets with “gay converters” who change men from gay to straight. During one session, Bruno asks one of the male converters: “Are you hitting on me?”
And of course Bruno makes fun of countless celebrities (Harrison Ford has a great one-liner) and models. A beautiful woman explains that modeling is extremely difficult because there’s so much walking. Bruno deadpans that it’s hard because you have to put one foot in front of the other. The model wholeheartedly agrees, and they continue the interview.
There is a scene with LaToya Jackson, and I’m wondering if it remains in the movie. I’ll leave out the details because I don’t want to spoil it, but there are several references to Michael Jackson. This was all made before his death so I’m curious to see if it makes the final cut. (SPOILER: As it turns out, the scene has been cut. For you gossip fans, the scene entailed the same gimmicks he used with Paula Abdul. The big difference is that LaToya happily sat on a Mexican man like a piece of furniture. She then casually ate sushi off of a naked man while engaging in a conversation with Bruno. Bruno made several references to MJ hoping to get him on his “show.” At one point, Bruno borrows LaToya’s phone, and tries to find MJ’s phone number. As Bruno becomes more insistent, she and her agent decide that it’s time to go. As she veers off, Bruno shouts to the car asking for at least Jermaine’s number. The scene was hilarious, but it was probably a smart idea to remove it. Hopefully, it will be on the DVD. )
The final scene does not disappoint. It is a culmination of hilarity, shock, and amazement. As I exited the theater, I caught eyes with several other people. Our faces were sore from smiling, our stomaches ached from laughing, and our jaws hurt from shock. We were speechless. We all looked at each other, shook our heads, and just laughed one more time.
It’s been a week and I’m still cracking up. I can’t wait until Friday, July 10th so I can see Bruno again.
How to Go to a Movie Screening
Sometimes, in front of big movie theaters (especially in NYC and LA), there will be sketchy guys trying to give you something. Your first reaction will be to ignore them because they are sketchy and weird. But these strange men are offering you something special: free tickets to a movie screening. The odd men will summarize the movie quickly and boast about the actors even if they suck. If you’re still interested, you must answer one more question correctly to receive your free pass for two.
“Do you work in the entertainment industry?”
Just say NO and you shall receive your golden ticket.
When you get home, register for the screening online. Arrive to the movie super early because it’s first come, first serve. The place will be a mad house, and you’ll get a taste of Hollywood and its motto: “Hurry up and wait!”
But once you get in, you’ll get to see a movie that might not come out for months. You may also get picked for a focus group and actually voice your opinion on the movie. You may even run into celebs who are involved with the film. That’s how I met Larry David (click here for the Larry David story.)
Some of the screenings that I’ve attended include Anchor Man, Envy, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, and now Bruno.
And all it cost me was an awkward 2 minute conversation with a strange man in front of a movie theater.