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Bruno vs. The Making Of…: A Fabulous Cage Match

July 1, 2009

Sacha Baron Cohen has got balls, and he’s not afraid to almost show them in his new movie, Bruno.  How this man stayed alive while filming his movies and Da Ali G Show warrants a movie in itself.  His survival skills and those of his production crew ought to be showcased on Man vs. Wild, which sounds like a show Bruno would dig anyway.

I understand how Borat got away with the stuff he did.  The “targets” in his 2006 movie tolerated his fracturing of cultural norms because they didn’t think he knew any better.  They found his broken English endearing, even if the statements themselves were crass and inappropriate.  He was America’s high school foreign exchange student: we wanted to be the first to teach him English cusswords and to be part of the crowd he first fell in with.

Not so, Bruno.

If you live in America, you know that sexuality is viewed a bit…differently from nation of origin.  So, naturally, a roaming, flaming Austrian fashion TV show host will experience qualitatively different reactions while exploring the U.S.

  1. Los Angeles Superintendent Ramon Cortines is apparently furious over the use of a photo in GQ starring a scantily-clad Bruno with high school football players.  He feels the students were “used,” and he has chastised the principal and athletic director involved because the photo shoot violated a policy on use of the Birmingham High School name.  One wonders if he would have reacted similarly had Bruno instead been Allison Stokke plugging a movie called “Pole Positions”.  The players themselves didn’t seem to mind, probably because most of them know who the hell Sacha Baron Cohen is.
  2. Four hunters get trigger happy when they “discover” Bruno is gay and might be hitting on one of them.  It takes a while for Cohen and his crew to talk their way out of it, but not before guns are drawn and pointed at the offending party.  That the hunters didn’t immediately know that Bruno was gay simply means they hadn’t previously met any homosexuals who could have dispelled stereotypes.  If they had—well, they may still have wanted to shoot Bruno.
  3. Spectators screamed and shouted all sorts of insults when a staged cage match in Arkansas devolved into a two-man groping session.  When the crowd started throwing chairs and surrounded the production bus, though, police had to be called.  It took 40 police officers—40!–several hours to extract cast and crew.  Funny, if you’ve ever watched wrestling or MMA fights, explicit kissing is the only thing you don’t see two men do to each other.

I’m sure Cohen and crew narrowly escaped death or imprisonment several more times—read that last link for a recounting of Bruno’s Middle East trip, or the strip search that simply must have been necessary when he crashed a fashion show.

Yes, the character of Bruno is deliberately provocative, but that’s the whole point.  I just hope the DVD has lots of “The Making Of…” extras, because those shots will be as entertaining as what made it on the screen.

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