Bruno Goes Where No Comedy Has Gone Before
- Friday, July 10, 2009
Brüno concludes that only straight men can succeed in the States. His attempted transformation involves counseling from a minister and another counselor who advises him to spend more time with straight men. A resulting hunting trip is the film's comedic high point, but a visit to a "swingers party" is little more than thinly disguised pornography, as the "swingers" are shown engaging in various sex acts (sex organs and penetration images are blacked out in the film), supplemented by running commentary from Brüno, who watches the heterosexual intercourse with intense interest.
The Bible repeatedly condemns sexual immorality and impurity (1 Corinthians 6:13, 1 Corinthians 6:18; 1 Corinthians 10:8; Colossians 3:5 among many others). The behavior of Brüno and others in the film clearly qualifies, but the movie, of course, has no interest in biblical admonitions apart from using them as further fodder for the film's humor. Brüno's ministerial counseling session is about as serious as Borat's trip to the Pentecostal church—designed to make the Christians look ridiculous (although these scenes could be crueler than they are).
Is the film funny? Very much so at times, but as with all comedies built on outrageous gags, Brüno goes too far—in this case, way too far. It goes beyond previous limits for this type of film and, especially in the "swingers" scene, further pushes pornography into the mainstream of our culture and expands the boundaries of what can be depicted in an "R"-rated feature. There are a few laughs along the way, but a larger cost to be paid. One can only imagine what further images and behaviors will comprise future "outrageous" comedies now that Brüno has lowered the bar.
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- Language/Profanity: Lord's name taken in vain; tons of bad language, including the "f" word and all sorts of sexually explicit dialogue; "queer" used several times to describe the openly gay Bruno; "s" word; a baby listens to profane hip-hop music through headphones; the child's shirt labels him a "Gayby"; the child is shown in photos as a mock Jesus on a cross, then in a hot tub with other men, then in the same location while two of the men engage in a sex act; several references to oral sex; "bitch"; Bruno says a gospel presentation was "really hot" and later refers to the pastor as "Reverend BJ."
- Smoking/Drinking: Bruno pours a drink for one of his interview subjects; says he doesn't have enough Ecstasy for everyone; he appears to snort something off a musician's shoulder.
- Sex/Nudity: In general, all manners of frontal and rear nudity are shown; a costume has appendages dangling from the groin area; scene of waxing (rear) at a salon; a naked man is used as a serving table for snack food; several seconds of footage of male, lower frontal nudity and low-angle shots of Bruno dancing in skimpy underwear as part of a TV show pilot; an extended shot of Bruno performing simulated sex acts on the imagined ghost of a male music star; several scenes of sex toys being handled; a sequence where Bruno and his boyfriend show different male-sex games; Bruno attends a "swingers" party, featuring several scenes of men and women engaged in sex acts (genitals are blacked out in these scenes, but still very explicit); a demonstration of various sexual positions; two men undress each other in front of a crowd and start kissing.
- Violence/Crime: Discussion of a picture of a fetus leads to the conclusion that the baby should be aborted; as part of Middle East peace negotiations, Bruno advises two men not to kill each other, but to shoot a Christian instead; circumstances behind Bruno's adoption of an African baby are murky; a mother agrees to put her child through extreme acts like liposuction if it can guarantee the child's role in a photo shoot, including a shot of a Nazi baby pushing a Jewish baby into an oven; Bruno is whipped and falls through a window; women's outer garments are ripped off before an extreme-fighting cage match.
- Religion: Bruno and another man walk past an anti-gay group while nude; a pastor advises Bruno to accept Christ and leave behind any behaviors that might remind him of his homosexual lifestyle; pastor presents the gospel to Bruno and counsels him to leave his homosexual lifestyle.
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