The tagline for Sacha Baron Cohen's latest movie is "Borat was so 2006". The more appropriate tag would be "Brüno is the new Borat". And Brüno's vacant, moron-in-the-headlights smirk is the new face of movie star laziness.
Another apt tagline? How about "Brüno is soooo not Zoolander"? Ben Stiller nailed a character that nailed the fashion world with a clever spoof and great casting. For those keeping track, that was 8 years ago this September. Stiller, now why's that a name that has succeeded with each new release? Maybe talent and intelligence has something to do with making funny ideas - actually funny. But we digress.
We get that this is broad satire and that Mr. Cohen thinks, ala Borat, that there's some kind of social statement to be made from lampooning the surprised and outraged reactions from the poor unsuspecting dolts who "unknowingly" wind up on camera. (How the hell does someone dressed like this get himself and a film crew into Republican Congressman's office anyway?) But the joke is so shallow as to make the humor collapse with the very least bit of inspection.
Not for a moment do we believe that the presence of a camera crew isn't tipping off the "unsuspecting" that, duh, someone's making a movie. We're also not buying that there's a "message" to making fun of people by exposing their prejudices and ignorance, when those failings are what's driving the laughter in an audience filled with the very same biases. Cohen doesn't have, and shouldn't be granted, license to play out a joke that depends on his being the only guy in the room who's above the stupidity, and then acting a fool to prove his point.
When someone gets put upon by Mr. Cohen, replete in outrageous costume, exaggerated accent and embarrassingly stereotyped behavior, a polite intelligent person might try to be polite and intelligent and take him seriously. That's called tolerance. For Cohen, in character, to then stretch the encounter to absurdity to illicit an embarrassing reaction is on some levels despicable and pathetically unfunny.
We can prove our case in point by reminding moviegoers of the lawsuits and anger triggered by Cohen's "ambush movie-making" tactics in '06's Borat, when the poor saps on camera realized they'd been pressed into showing their worst traits so that the moviemakers could turn a cheap and easy buck. The anger is once again rising over being "duped" by Brüno, with press reports of potential lawsuits starting months ago. Then again, since we can't believe anyone doesn't recognize the fact that they're on a movie set, those reports may just be more of the same tactics the movie uses, applied to marketing. We would also direct you to the movie's trailer which is to laughter what the Sahara is to rainfall. Thankfully you can see it for free and perhaps save some anger yourself by not getting duped into wasting 10 bucks.
The result of all of this? Brüno is all just so much lazy, unoriginal, insulting crap.
And that's the end line here. Don't support lazy filmmakers. We're thinking Will Ferrell and Jack Black should both be hoping for some justice. They got lazy, picked garbage scripts and skated through summer movies on egos that said, "hey, I'm a star, they'll come". They didn't. If Brüno gets the audience it deserves - none, Will and Jack should go out and get hammered this weekend and someone at Universal should make a note that the next Sacha Baron Cohen project is going to have to have a script. A funny script. Oh yeah, and Cohen should actually have to earn his paycheck.