Archive for the ‘Ron Paul’ Category

Review: Bruno

July 10, 2009

I determined last night that, were I under twenty-one, it would have been far easier for me to buy alcohol laced with cocaine than for somebody under seventeen to sneak into see Bruno, Sacha Baron Cohen’s follow up to the comedy hit Borat. I’ve been over seventeen for over four years now, and the employees at the theater checked my license when I bought the ticket, when I gave it to the ticket-tearing cineplex gatekeeper, and when I got to the entrance to the theater itself. There were more security checks here than there are at the airport. It was a great indication of the raunchy decadence I was about to witness with the hundreds of other people in that packed, noisy theater.

You might believe, as I did, that you have mentally primed yourself for such debauchery. But nothing could adequately prepare somebody for seeing this movie. Bruno is, quite simply, like nothing we’ve ever seen before. It does not simply push boundaries; it brings in a massive testicle wrecking ball to smash them, urinates and defecates all over the remains, then streaks away in glorified nudity to uncharted territory, boldly going where no man has dared go before. It’s the Star Trek of comedy, with more penises.

My sense of humor has been sensitized by humor like South Park, meaning I seldom dub something outlandishly distasteful. But if you sit through this movie without ever feelings uncomfortable, offended, or violated, please kick Hitler in the balls for me when you’re in hell. This film ventures further than Borat ever dared, and delivers fewer laughs and social commentary than its predecessor.

Cohen is, to be a sure, a comic mastermind, a living tour-de-force who does the unique and the daring. How he neither breaks character nor cracks a smile when doing these enactments is a testament to his talents. Whether he is holding it together with somebody he has completely befuddled or sticking to his shtick when threatened to get beaten into a little, gay, puddle of blood, it mystifies me how he accomplishes these acts (alive). He comes face to face with intolerant religious zealots, back-country rednecks, and even a fucking terrorist leader (whom he asks to kidnap him, and refers to Bin Laden as a “dirty old wizard”). He’s lucky he came out of this alive, much less with both hands non-sawed off. He truly risked his well-being for his art.

Though that art appears more forced and, well, scripted than it has in the past. It seems likely that, after Borat was so successful, he had to be much more meticulous in choosing his victims, who might be a little wary to accept this bizarre caricature at face value. That doesn’t stop him from getting some great interviews (including presidential candidate Ron Paul) but it does mean the line between scripted and improvisation is blurred, and that the interviews are quite short lived. This presents one of the major flaws in the film, you have a set-up and a finish, but no build-up. It’s like Cohen made it his mission to see how quickly he could get somebody in and out. It’s funny, but it’s hasty, and it leaves the film with a vacant feeling.

Don’t get me wrong, I laughed, sometimes hard. But many of these were from shock and appall, as I saw things on a big screen I never thought I would. Besides the gross-out gags, there’s a lot of uncomfortable chuckling, as “Bruno” tries to seduce Ron Paul, or brings his newly adopted black baby on a talk show with a T-shirt that reads “Gayby,” and is viciously attacked by the crowd. Then suddenly there’s a shot that will instantly remind those that have seen it of Meatspin (if you haven’t seen it, don’t look, I warned you) and you’re guffawing in flabbergasted disbelief that they’re showing this to mainstream audiences. There may be movies where I’ve laughed more frequently, but there are few where I’ve gone through so many different types of laughter, from the nervous giggle to the gross out guffaw, from the clever remark chuckle to the riotous knee slap.

But sometimes, rather than laugh, you must place your head in your hands and shudder for the person who is the unknowing butt of the joke. It is truly appalling what some people do and say in this film, and while I won’t claim it’s the norm it is important we know that these people do in fact exist, waste our precious oxygen, and subject the entire world to their backwards and flat out dangerous action. I’m not looking at homophobes so much here, but rather at the mothers who were willing to exploit there children in such ways as to make John and Kate look like regular, loving parents.

As for social commentary, it’s surprisingly lacking. He only interacts briefly with the “Christians” holding the “God hates fags” signs, though he does go to get cured by a spiritual healer. But it’s never quite as biting as its predecessor, and he pushes people to react in a bigoted manner more so than he had to in the past. Now I’m not saying that he didn’t interact with some truly intolerant people, but as I mentioned here, he does it in a manner that would incite most anybody. Perhaps less would have been more, where he wasn’t such a flamboyancy. I’ve heard people claim something to the extent of, “you can’t blame the match for the gas being flammable,” and up to a point that’s true. But he often brings more than a match, it’s more akin to an atomic flame thrower, and the sting would have been harsher had he not gone so far out of his way to start the controversies that he does.

It’s a nice, short film, which is indeed a relief. Though there is some funny stuff from the trailer missing, and the entire Janet Jackson scene is scrapped. I’m hoping for some extras on the DVD, because I’m sure there’s some great stuff he left out.

The plot is trivial and unimportant, as it should be. Nobody really cares why he gets into these scrapes, only that he does. It’s a funny film, and it has some really witty bits (here’s to Brad Pitt adopting the nickname Bradolf Pittler). But it’s intermingled with too much crass and the bits speed by too quickly for it to be as successful as its predecessor.

7.1/10

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This Week In Blockbusters: "Bruno," "I Love You Hayden Pa-" Errr… "Beth Cooper"

July 7, 2009

Is there nothing better than watching some idiot’s life get ruined as he spews intense bigotry and hatred towards a completely fictional character, gets caught on camera, and shown to audiences around the world? I declare to you that there is not. Somehow I take great solace in knowing that those frat stars from the Winnebago in Borat will never be able to go anywhere without somebody saying, “Hey, look, it’s those fucktards.” They can’t look at a woman now without getting a glare of revulsion, and any dreams of ‘pussy chasing,’ and perhaps, a ‘future in politics’ got crotch kicked by a Jew acting like an antisemitic Kazakhi reporter. Now, in Sacha Baron Cohen’s follow-up film, we’re introduced to a flambuoyantly homosexual Austrian fashion reporter named Bruno, as he trounces through America, makes people wildly uncomfortable by being completely socially inept, and lures hate speech from the ignorant; using himself as the perfect bait.

Early reviews are positive, many saying it’s funnier, filthier, and more controversial than Borat. Excellent, just what I wanted. There’s already been an uproar from the gay community dubbing the character as ‘offensive.’ I’d like to point out the hypocrisy here, since I know they weren’t complaining at all when he was portraying Kazakhstan as a shit-hole of a country, and it’s citizens as ignorant, backwards inbreds. Not only that, but the whole point of Bruno the character is to be pro-gay, and show some of the prejudice they come up against. Yeah he’s exaggerated, and yes he’s flabbergasting, but it’s all in good fun. Though I think if you’re a sensitive soul, you’re probably guaranteed to be offended by this film. You’re also a tight ass, so get over it.

There was a scene that featured some light jabs at Michael Jackson, but when he died (did you hear about it?) they rushed to get it edited out of the movie. Hopefully it will be in the deleted scenes.

One problem I have with this movie and its predecessor is the audience’s desire to extrapolate the views of those in the film to the masses. I caution against this; Cohen searches out the most bigoted and foolish and exploits them. And when they aren’t terrible people, Cohen pushes them until they appear to be so. For instance, in the rodeo scene in Borat, we’re supposed to laugh at the people booing him, assuming it’s racial intolerance and a redneck, hick-ish, conservative thing to do. But is it really unreasonable to boo somebody who does what he did to the National Anthem? Or at the dinner party, his hosts showed levels of extreme toleration, even when he brought his bag full of dookie to the table. But he continued to push until they appeared to be mean, white, racists. It’s an hilarious tactic, and I’m not saying we shouldn’t enjoy the comedy, but I don’t want this to be seen as a looking glass into the American soul.

Look forward to a scene involving then-presidential candidate Ron Paul, a scene where a very famous person immediately recognizes Cohen, and some extended shots of full-frontal male nudity.

And then wait for the DVD when we get to see the star get escorted out of a huge crowd, because somebody picked up on his antics.

All in all, Bruno sounds like an hysterically, satirically, disgustingly funny movie. Expect it to pass The Hangover as top-grossing comedy of the summer.

Excitement Buzz: 8.9/10

And the tamer, PG-13 competitor of the weekend is the teen comedy I Love You, Beth Cooper, starring Heroes poster girl Hayden Pannettiere and costarring some guy who doesn’t matter (for the record, his name is Paul Rust, and he actually looks like he might be pretty funny). In this high-school rom-com, Denis Cooverman (Rust) proclaims his love for his hot, popular classmate Beth Cooper (Pannettiere) during his valedictorian speech. She decides to show him a good time (and a little bit more… Look forward to the shower scene, though remember it’s still PG-13, and cry as you want the camera to pan just…a few…inches…south), all the while being chased by her older, meaner boyfriend.

I’m fairly certain Pannettierre has yet to not play a cheerleader, and her looks are definitely her strongest suit, but she’s still a fine enough actress for something like this. I’m not sure how she acts off screen (read: Lindsay Lohan), but she plays the hot, sassy girl like a pro. I wonder how she learned.

So is it box office suicide putting this movie up against Bruno, or is it brilliant? Expect highly inflated numbers, as every teen under seventeen buys tickets for this to sneak into the rated R movie (many people think Wild Wild West stole a lot of revenue from South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut) And after they’ve seen that, they might actually come back for this film as well. Double the ticket purchases, baby, money in Hayden’s pocket. She’ll use it to call me long distance, I’m sure.

Excitement buzz: 6.5/10