I watched a pirated copy of Brüno online yesterday, and it was more or less what I expected. I definitely laughed at some things and smirked at others, but on the whole I think Baron Cohen’s schtick is getting a little old. This is mostly because too many people know who he is now. The old episodes of Da Ali G Show were absolutely hilarious, because no one knew him and he could really trick everyone into talking to him. These days, he pulls a lot more stunts involving other celebrities—some of which are staged, while others are questionable, which sort of takes the fun out of the whole thing.
That said, I still love Sacha Baron Cohen. I love the fact that he pushes traditional comedic boundaries farther than they ever usually go. It’s not that I thought all of the really vulgar scenes were that funny, but who else would even attempt to do that stuff? I have to give him points for mixing things up a little. Aside from that, the single best thing that has come out of both Borat and Brüno is the exposure of these horrendous excuses for human beings that live in our society. I’m talking about the average, non-celebrity people who, I’m assuming, truly have no idea what is going on. You’ve got the mom in the modeling agency saying that she can get her 30-pound child to lose 10 pounds in the next week if it means she’ll get the job. You’ve got the PR consultants telling him what causes are “hot” at the moment, and of course the religious folk trying to convert homosexuals to heteros. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I think Baron Cohen is a really smart guy, not only for his ability to act so stupid, but to be able to tap into the stupidity of others. So, as much as I appreciate male frontal nudity in movies, the critique of American society is what really makes this movie.