Sacha Baron Cohen pulls a not-so-subtle switcheroo on audiences as he and his co-writers take their Austrian fashionista Bruno from Da Ali G Show and give him the big screen treatment following, of course, in the footsteps of the Kazakhstanian sensation Borat.
Borat and Bruno are both deliciously crude creations intent on skewering Western reality-based dreams of fame, celebrity and lust, and while on the surface each more than accomplished his goals in loosely set-up sketch segments on a half-hour television series, there is far more risk in extending the gags into a feature-length frame. Cohen bravely ventures onto that big blank slate of a screen with the notion that there are no sacred cows and that absolutely nothing is off limits (although apparently Michael Jackson’s untimely demise disproves this statement and shows a degree of sensitivity from Cohen that would seem quite foreign to either Borat or Bruno).
Bruno, like Borat, leaves the safe confines of his insular world to make a name for himself, but his trip to the U.S. plays like a weird reversal of Borat’s. In his pursuit of celebrity, Bruno goes straight to Hollywood and finds a way to out-trash the already debased cultural home of misguided fame — chasing Harrison Ford through convenient store parking lots and convincing Paula Abdul to use Mexican workers as furniture. But once Bruno wanders into the Midwestern and the Southern states, with bartered baby OJ (Chibuno and Chigozie Orukwowu) and his man-servant/lover Lutz (Gustaf Hammarsten) in tow, the satirical shit hits the fan.
One has to wonder, though, how Cohen was able to maintain the element of surprise in his real-time gags with regional boobs after the fanfare of Borat. But he proves that his edgy style still cuts deep, so why change? Grade: B