Oh No He Didn’t!

In Brüno, Sacha Baron Cohen’s flaming fashionista serves up the Botoxed embodiment of America’s deadly sins. Hilarity ensues. But is it too mean?

The Bruno Move

Brüno, the latest entrée in Sacha Baron Cohen’s quest to dismantle American idiocracy, is raunchy, ribald, riotous, risqué, over-the-top, obnoxious and brutal, smashing cultural conventions with all the zeal of a 2-year-old let loose in the middle of a Chuck E. Cheese. It’s that chaotic and that funny to watch—funny in the oh-no-he-didn’t—kind of way.

Except that some times, watching Brüno, you wish that he really didn’t. Or hadn’t.

This is humor on steroids, humor with a savage wit, with an emphasis on savage. Yes, it is very, very, very funny. And it is also more than a little mean.

Brüno, directed by Larry Charles and written by Baron Cohen, picks up where Borat (2006) left off: Clueless naïf takes on America in a quest for stardom, stumbling and bumbling through both big cities and burbs, playing with unwitting “real people,” poking and prodding until their hypocrisy is laid bare. This time around, the clueless naïf is a horny, gay Austrian rather than a horny straight Kazakh.

Brüno, a talk show host with a penchant for wearing lederhosen that exposes more than his legs, is faced with a crisis of identity: He’s been kicked out of the fashion world—tearing through a chi-chi poo fashion show while wearing a Velcro suit didn’t help—and dumped by his Pygmy lover. He’s been, to coin the parlance of Heidi Klum in Project Runway, “Aufed.” So he decides to quit fashion. Not that the fashionista has much choice. His new quest: “To be the biggest Austrian superstar since Hitler!”