Bruno, Borat, Sacha Baron Cohen, third world, homophobia, mustache, thong

Discussion (16) ¬

  1. totalmoviefreak

    I wanna see bruno just for pure entertainment. I think it looks really funny and I’m really looking forward to it.

  2. Rlaxing Dragon
    Rlaxing Dragon

    The only real issue I have with Cohen’s method of catching people and their bias’ is that he goes to such an extreme stereotype of a gay person to do it. When someone is that annoying and ridiculous in an almost unreal sense, it’s hard not to act out against them for being who they are (and I’m just going off the lightweight ads. From what I’ve heard, the heavy stuff in the movie goes all the way).

    That said, I’m still going to see it and laugh myself to tears. Cohen’s a gifted comic, and I do have to admire just how dedicated he is to what he does. At the very least there should be much less annoying imitators of him doing his thing compared to Borat. When that movie came out, every high schooler in America was doing the “Very nice!” bit over and over, thinking they were the funniest thing around. The average teen’s homophobia will prevent a repeat of that for this. Or make everyone more accepting to gays. Win-win situation, I believe.

  3. AnonCollie

    Personally, I have nothing but contempt for Cohen.
    It’s one thing to write a provocative comedy that pushes the limits of taste. It’s another to expose and embarrasses real people. Cohen has been sued over his performances multiple times over defamation.

    Besides, there’s almost a threshold of class for his poor brand of comedy. Sure the Frat-boy and MTV culture will enjoy his crass, over the top humor, but not everybody does.

  4. Bats

    I avoided Borat and I’ll be avoiding Bruno as well, if mostly because I find watching “reactions by joe and jill everydude(tte)s to someone acting bizzare” comedy to be painful and embarrassing rather than funny. Additionally, I find the tactics to be rather crass as well. Provoking “unenlightened” reactions from people by being an obnoxious stereotype isn’t thought provoking, it’s cheap and exploitative.

    Honestly, what would be your reaction to meeting ‘Bruno’? I am a rather reserved, introverted person, and a fun-fact about me is that I do not like to be touched. If someone as explosively flamboyant as ‘Bruno’ tried to hug me randomly I would probably react strongly and negatively. Would I be portrayed positively in this film? “Look at that guy flinch, such a homophobe!” Is that a fair shake? I’m not saying that every negative reaction displayed in the movie is taken out of context, but how many of them really aren’t in at least some fashion, even those that truly are fundamentally caused by bigotry? John Somebody might not think gay marriage is within the religious definition of marriage and therefore shouldn’t be allowed, but is rubbing an erect penis on his face in line at the grocery store going to change that opinion? Or anyone’s opinion in the audience? Or is it just going to make a couple people laugh when John screams?

    And how is John going to feel about the issue afterwards?

    No one’s bigotry is going to be exposed or reformed by this movie. If anything it might solidify further resentment and hostility.

  5. Tom

    Or, worst case scenario, Dragon, millions of teenagers start impersonating Bruno thinking that is how gay people actually are – laughing AT gays, not with them.

  6. Rlaxing Dragon
    Rlaxing Dragon

    Yes, that could happen too (gay is still a pretty common insult). I’ll hedge my bets in the homophobe circle, see how that plays out.

  7. Alex

    I have mixed feelings on Bruno, but at the same time, I didn’t like Borat. Don’t get me wrong, I can appreciate what Cohen was trying to do in Borat, but in general I didn’t think the movie was funny. Not because of the cultural stereotyping, but in general it just wasn’t funny. Borat only seemed to get attention because of the shock moments Cohen was putting on, but otherwise it was a bad movie in my opinion.

    Bruno, from what I’ve seen, actually looks funny. If he can make the experience enjoyable, then more power to him. I know I’m looking at this solely on movie quality, but if he’s trying to make a movie, then that should be the judgment on it, not just what spastic acts he does on film.

  8. xeranar

    His whole approach goes back to the Ali G show when the principle humor was not that Ali G was incredibly annoying but was acting outside of his cultural stereotype. Cultural jokes are always somewhat crass, that is the whole point of them. But satire is designed to make the person stop and think why the actions are inappropriate and attempt to create a wave of emotions to change the world.

    Borat if anything created further backlash against middle/far eastern people who share as much genetics with British and Russians as all Caucasians. But his characters purposely create a blind spot in their personalities which just generates hate. Dostoevsky wrote “The Idiot” as the perfect opposite to the characters of Borat and Bruno. So while Dostoevsky has created a wonderful satire of the world when confronted with absolute good the characters of Bruno and Borat are somewhere between willfully ignorant and outright cruel. When people are confronted with the stereotypes Cohen uses one has to question whether the people are reacting to the blatant ignorance, the willful defiance, or to the underlying characteristics.

    Also who is defining the anger at homophobia? Unless a respondent says something akin to “I hate you because you are gay.” One would have to assume that the defiance or inflammatory remarks set the situation ablaze. Cohen may just be using the homophobia as a cover for pushing people to the age of their politeness as he did in Borat.

  9. Kimina

    Long-time reader, first-time poster. Tom, I have to applaud you for a very thoughtful critical analysis of “Bruno” and how it might affect people’s perceptions of an often marginalized demographic. Having said that, I kinda agree with AnonCollie. I haven’t liked any of Cohen’s alter-ego’s (Bruno, Borat, or Ali G). His comedy makes me uncomfortable for the people he’s trying to trick, and I don’t think that’s an acceptable audience reaction.

  10. Bones

    Man, I think you guys are reading way too much into this. I’m bisexual, and I know of no sexual minority who acts, or dresses, or talks, anything like “Bruno.” He’s a stereotype of a stereotype. Tom, plenty of straight teens already impersonate gay stereotypes. If they impersonate Bruno, then WE’LL be laughing at THEM.

    Xeraner said it: “Cohen may just be using the homophobia as a cover for pushing people to the [edge] of their politeness as he did in Borat.” Yeah, I thought that was the whole point?

  11. rveblade

    It’s nice to see that I am not the only one who just doesnt get the joke when it comes to Sacha Baron Cohen. I skipped out on Borat and will be taking a pass on Bruno as well because I dont find him funny in the slightest. I agree with the folks above that his characters are annoying and provocative in the extreme, and determining people to be backwoods or bigoted because they dont deal well with HIS caricature just is not a source of amusement for me. At least the jackass guys reserved their pranks and shock tactics to themselves and family.

  12. joshua

    Cohen’s type of “satire” is a mockery of the style. In fact, I haven’t seen or read a good satire in a long time. The best on I’ve read recently was written by Thackeray, so it obviously wasn’t modern; and I can’t even remember a truly good one that I’ve seen. I’m sick of hearing people refer to this and things such as Family Guy as intelligent comedy. It’s usually one or two clever lines mixed with a bunch of dick jokes.

  13. Blade

    I’ve barely even seen any ads for this, but I just wanted to say, very insightful comment, re:

    “To put it another way, what if you had Jerry Lewis running around in blackface during the Civil Rights era making fun of racist Southerns. Do you think it would help or hurt?”

    Not to mention everything I’ve read since Borat came out about the ways people were apparently lied to and otherwise tricked into being on camera, in at least some cases- this comes across less as a social commentary than as – as mentioned- a “GOTCHA!”

  14. Anerul

    I agree with Bones as far as Bruno goes. I just wanted to point out to Rveblade that many of the Jackass episode stunts were done IN PUBLIC with MANY PEOPLE around and not just with friends and family. Perhaps you were thinking of the Bam Margera show.

    I hope I don’t sound like someone who watches tons of MTV, but I did watch Jackass back when it was first out on MTV, which was quite a few years ago, and I was still in high school. Nowadays I barely have time to watch television because of my gaming habits. Replaced TV time with video game time and I’ve found that it has been much more enjoyable.

    Anyway, back on subject. I’m personally looking forward to Bruno as merely an entertaining movie. I’m not going to go in there and try to read so hard into things and get myself all in an uproar and be all offended because…it’s just not worth wasting the time and energy. If you want to watch the movie, that’s great! If not, that’s fine. But sometimes not everyone really enjoys hearing a coarse diatribe about Sacha Baron Cohen and his characters, because trust me, it’s already been done.

    • Tom

      I don’t know that mine was a “coarse diatribe” against Cohen.

      I’m just asking questions about the character, the “satire” and the effects it might have – intended or otherwise.

      Whatever the outcome, I don’t think I can abide by the “I’m just looking for an entertaining movie” excuse. That’s equal to people shouting down my criticisms of Transformers 2 with “It’s got Transformers in it? What else do you want?!”

      I think Cohen is trying to provoke something and that’s where the analysis comes from. Not just from me, but from everyone. He’s making an effort. We can at least meet him half way.

  15. Neil M
    Neil M

    More power to you Tom. This is EXACTLY why I love all the movie webcomics I’ve been finding lately. They force a person to think about what they’re going to watch. Now I didn’t see Borat and don’t plan to see Bruno just because of the fact I don’t enjoy these kinds of movies. Also I feel like it is simply an attack on people like me who don’t watch Cohen. I mean from what I’ve heard Borat and Bruno are both recurring characters from some show or other (Sorry but until Borat came out I hadn’t even heard of Cohen) and thus these characters would be instantly recognized if you watched them before. So even if a homophobe were to be caught in this film is it not a possibility they’d at least have seen commercials with Bruno in them? So in essence if anything he’s just picking on people who don’t watch those shows because they don’t like that kind of comedy. Plus from what I’ve heard he doesn’t just stand on a street corner passing out leaflets for a gay church; he actively acts like an ass in order to annoy people and then when they are annoyed by his silly and stupid antics he calls them socially backwards……WHAT!!! If a man consistently tried to flirt with me I’d ignore him but if he tried to show me his nuts I’d say it’s sexual harassment and is that not what Mr. Cohen is doing? Wouldn’t it be just as rude to have a man who is /obviously/ a caricature of a man with a high libido run around and try to get women to sleep with him? Just because homosexuals are a minority doesn’t mean we have to tolerate this kind of behavior; and it’s not homophobic. Not letting Bruno go over the top and rub his leather clad body up against people isn’t a smart way to test whether people are homophobic; it’s a safe way to be sure humanity doesn’t take well to sexual attacks!

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