Brüno and His Discontents
BY William McGuinness
July 10 2009 12:00 AM ET
The film's original title was "Delicious Journeys Through America for the Purpose of Making Heterosexual Males Visibly Uncomfortable in the Presence of a Gay Foreigner in a Mesh T-Shirt." However, "for the Purpose of Making Homosexual Males Uncomfortable in Theaters Full of Straight People" works too. Between laughs, I felt guilty and welcomed the darkness of the theater, afraid to see if other viewers were shooting glances, sizing up just how much Brüno and I are alike.
The title has obviously changed, but much of the original plot is intact, with the exception of a scene featuring LaToya Jackson and an alternative gay-bash ending that insulted some and which studio executives deny existed. Like many others, Brüno comes to Los Angeles looking for fame, but he finds love in the last place he'd look. He tries acting, hosting a talk show, creating world peace, and promoting the latest "super cool" charities, all in the name of grabbing the spotlight. But the efforts leave him running from Orthodox Jews in the Middle East and walking dejected with rows of clothing racks, his assistant, and his exercise bike/dildo in tow.
In Borat, Cohen's target was American ignorance and hypocrisy. Most populations were the butt of some jokes. Brüno , however, makes the LGBT community the whole joke. As the film progresses, the plot becomes less about finding fame and more about finding those cheap summer laughs.