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Movie Review

Brüno a.k.a. “Bruno,” “Brüno: 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,” “Bruno: Delicious Journeys Through America for the Purpose of Making Heterosexual Male”

MPAA Rating: R for pervasive strong and crude sexual content, graphic nudity and language.

Reviewed by: Ethan Samuel Rodgers

Extremely Offensive
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1 hr. 23 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
July 10, 2009 (wide—2,700 theaters)
DVD: November 17, 2009
Copyright, Universal Pictures click photos to ENLARGE
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Universal Pictures

REVIEW—BORAT: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (2006)

GAY—What’s wrong with being gay? Answer
Homosexual behavior versus the Bible: Are people born gay? Does homosexuality harm anyone? Is it anyone’s business? Are homosexual and heterosexual relationships equally valid?

What about gays needs to change? Answer
It may not be what you think.

What does the Bible say about same sex marriages? Answer

Can a gay or lesbian person go to heaven? Answer
If a homosexual accepts Jesus into his heart, but does not want to change his lifestyle, can he/she still go to Heaven?

What should be the attitude of the church toward homosexuals and homosexuality? Answer

Read stories about those who have struggled with homosexuality

NUDITY—Why are humans supposed to wear clothes? Answer

What are the consequences of sexual immorality? Answer

Featuring: Sacha Baron Cohen (Brüno), Gustaf Hammarsten (Lutz), Clifford Bañagale (Diesel), Chibundu Orukwowu (O.J.), Chigozie Orukwowu (O.J.), Josh Meyers (Kookus), Toby Hoguin (Mexican Gardener #1), Robert Huerta (Mexican Gardener #2), Gilbert Rosales (Mexican Gardener #3), Thomas Rosales Jr. (Mexican Gardener #4), Marco Xavier (Mexican Gardener #5), Bono (Himself—'Dove of Peace'), Chris Martin (Himself—'Dove of Peace'), Elton John (Himself—'Dove of Peace'), Slash (Himself—'Dove of Peace'), Snoop Dogg (Himself—'Dove of Peace'), Sting (Himself—'Dove of Peace'), Lloyd Robinson (Himself), Paula Abdul (Herself—uncredited), Domiziano Arcangeli (Fashion Show Director in Milan—uncredited), Richard Bey (Himself—uncredited), Harrison Ford (Himself—uncredited), Brittny Gastineau (Herself—uncredited), John Grant Gordon (German Male Model—uncredited), David Hill (Reporter—uncredited), Hugh B. Holub (Focus Group Curmudgeon—uncredited), Todd Christian Hunter (Man in Hotel Room—uncredited), Michelle McLaren (Dominatrix—uncredited), Ron Paul (Himself—uncredited), Miguel Sandoval (Himself / D.A. Manuel Devalos—uncredited), Stephen Sepher (Photographer—uncredited), Alexander von Roon (German Reporter—uncredited)
Director: Larry Charles
Producer: Everyman Pictures, Four by Two, Media Rights Capital, Jason Alper, Sacha Baron Cohen, Jonah Hill, Anthony Hines, Monica Levinson, Dan Mazer, Jon Poll, Jay Roach, Jeff Schaffer, Todd Schulman, Dale Stern
Distributor: Universal Pictures

“Borat was so 2006”

Someone obviously misinformed Sacha Baron Cohen. Apparently he was told that gay pornography is “humorous.” I think they meant another word… what is it? Awkward? Disgusting? Deeply Disturbing? I suppose not one word can describe this debacle of debauchery and homosexuality that will quickly ruin any movie night, whether it be in a theater or a living room in front of the TV.

“Bruno” plays as though someone waddled into the editing studio and pasted together 20 random sketches of a gay Austrian in different awkward situations in America. Director Larry Charles must have just sat and watched Cohen make a fool of himself. The story is basic: a TV host and celebrity from Austria comes to America to try and become “super famous.” The story, also, follows the romance (if you could call it that) between Bruno and his assistant, Lutz. Other than that, the film is jump transitions from one potty joke to the next.

The film, as a whole, is simply irredeemable. To be crude, crass vulgar and hilarious is one thing. To be all of the above, while, also, being disgusting, ridiculous and brainlessly stupid is another. Cohen’s previous characters (Ali G and most notably Borat) all pushed the envelope, but found ways to be satirical and universally humorous. Bruno on the other hand just isn’t funny. It’s got a few moments, mostly bottom of the barrel shock laughs, but for the better part of the film Cohen is harassing and/or sexually assaulting men, flinging “dildos” across the screen, and thoroughly disgusting both unsuspecting cast members of the film and the audience alike.

The offensive content is impossible to list. The language is worse than just about anything I’ve seen, and the sex is as up close and personal as a late night HBO special. It’s undeniable that the idea behind “Bruno” was a question: “How far can we go?” From minute one, you’re thrust into Sacha Baron Cohen’s world of funny… which mostly involves him dancing around in thong underwear.

If that’s not bad enough, they take some cracks at Christians. Which may be the most humorous and ironic part of the entire film: poking fun at people that are happy and satisfied, when you’re living your life like this? Let’s be honest, when you’re portraying yourself as a gay Austrian for chuckles, you’ve either hit rock bottom or you’ve become a prostitute for laughter. In either scenario, don’t bash the guy to your left or right who’s happy, take a step back and try and figure out what you’re living for.

For some reason comedians are running short on jokes. Maybe Cohen is one of them, or perhaps he guessed that this worthless waste of film would get a few chuckles and guessed wrong. It’s strange, throughout the entire film no one on screen laughs at him. No extra or supporting cast member cracks a smile, giggles or grins. They all just stare awkwardly and confused. I won’t be surprised when audiences follow suit and give Cohen the pass. If he wants to be funny again, he’ll have to earn my respect, and I’m sure the respect of many other followers. If he’s going to do that, he might need to get a focus group together, or at the very least a studio audience, to rediscover what’s funny. Because “Bruno,” unlike it’s predecessors, is everything but.

Violence: None / Profanity: Extreme / Sex/Nudity: Extreme

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive—When I saw “Borat,” I thought to myself, “This is the most outrageous film in the entirety of filmmaking.” That is until I saw “Bruno,” which I just watched today. I knew going in that it was going to be incredibly sexual, and in many people’s eyes, absurdly offensive. I did not know how bad it was actually going to be. After the second scene in the film, I could not believe this was rated R, it should have be NC-17. I’ve never been offended with vulgar comedies, because that is exactly what they are meant for, to find comedy in vulgarity, but I came very close to being offended in this one. It was bad, and I could not recommend this movie, in good conscience, to anyone. It was THAT bad.

With that being said, I found the movie extremely funny, even if my eyes were hiding behind my hands about 1/3 of the time. I understand that “funny” does not make it okay to see this film. That is not a good enough excuse to give this movie a 4 star rating. This movie was made for the sole purpose to push peoples boundaries, and get laughs while doing it. Sacha Baron Cohen took a very controversial subject, and put it too such extreme heights, that it makes this whole subject seem absurd, on both sides.

I understand that this is a Christian review Web site, and the review is right in saying that it is a very vulgar movie, but I think the point Cohen is trying to make is completely missed in this review. However, that isn’t the reviewer’s fault, the vulgarity of this movie made it hard to see the ideology. Pretty much the movie is saying, at least to me, people need to loosen up a bit, and be able to laugh at how we take everything so seriously. Not just the homosexual discussion, the war between Palestine and Israel, and Religion, and even ourselves. Sure all of those things are serious issues, but sometimes it is good therapy to step back and make fun of the way human nature is. We are all just too serious; we need to lighten up a bit.

As Christian, I did feel disgusted at many points in the movie, but as a whole, I see what Mr. Cohen is doing, and he uses the vulgarity of his humor as a catalyst for a much more important idea. Borat was a better social commentary, but Bruno hit some points too. If someone were to ask me, “Should I see it?” I would say no, but it served its purpose. He made it to be controversial, and he has succeeded in that. People found it thought provoking and funny, as I did, and other people found it disturbing and disgusting, as this reviewer did. But either way the movie did what it set out to do, therefore, for it’s purpose, it was a good movie.

I’ll never watch it again, but I will think about it for months to come. And that’s the point. Jesus is probably ashamed of me.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Chris, age 19 (USA)
Positive—…I am surprised the reviewer didn’t stress more heavily the graphic nature of the content of this film. I myself have watched a plethora of films. I have given positive reviews to the likes of “Eyes Wide Shut,” and I have seen far more graphic and disturbing films. Now, “Bruno” is not the most explicit I’ve seen--however, it is by far the most explicit film to hit mainstream audiences since, well… since the 70’s, when “A Clockwork Orange” swept in a tidy sum at the box office and got a Best Picture nomination. I’m not exaggerating here. I am very, very surprised that “Bruno” managed to get an R, even if it did edit some material out. And I say this as someone who thinks the MPAA is too strict on sexual content and not strict enough on violence. Some of the images in this film are jaw-droppingly vulgar and explicit. “Borat” is like a picnic compared to “Bruno.” Many reviewers are comparing it to John Waters’ repertoire; mainstream audiences will know Waters as the director of the original “Hairspray” film; cinema buffs, however, will know him for his early shock work, which includes the likes of “Pink Flamingos.” Having seen some of his stuff, I can say it is an accurate comparison, even if John Waters still barely takes the cake. That I use the word “barely” in this comparison only goes to show just how graphic this film is. ……
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
—JM, age 19 (USA)
Positive—Bruno was a very funny film that had me laughing for 1 1/2 hours straight. I wouldn’t recommend this film for anyone that is offended easily or takes things too serious. The concept of this movie is hilarious and shows once again why Sasha is a comic genius.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Jason, age 35 (USA)
Positive—With some guilt but a lot of anticipation I went to see this film today. I’m glad I did. I’ve read the reviews on this site and others and was prepared for a great deal of vulgarity. I was wrong. It was nothing short of an avalanche of debauchery, nudity, and perversion, the likes of which I’ve never seen before, and unless Cohen outdoes himself again, I might not ever again. Having said that, I think that is the film’s greatest selling point. Its outrageousness was terribly, terribly funny and forced me to rethink why it is that I feel compelled to condemn it as sinful and to be avoided by all good followers of Christ. I decided that the value of its humor outweighs the value of any Biblical criticism I may level against it. I fully recognize that this is a generational thing. Regardless of what I think about it, it’s normal now in many places to see gay men kissing on the bus (like I did yesterday), or hear about orgies in dorm rooms. My grandparents, on the other hand, would find the content of this film totally shocking and horrifying and would no doubt leave the theater within the first few minutes. To a certain extent I totally get that reaction. But at the same time, times have changed. Yes, I found lots of it quite shocking from a Biblical and just human perspective, but I have to admit, I had a great time at the movie. To those of my generation I’d recommend it, but just know what you’re walking into.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—C. Johnson, age 18 (USA)
Neutral—While I found BORAT to be hilarious and provocative, this film was just shock for shock’s sake. It was hilarious, don’t get me wrong, but a part of me wishes that I had never seen it. It is true that Sacha Baron Cohen is a talented man. Anyone who has seen him in SWEENEY TODD would agree with me. However, I think it is high time that he moved on to bigger and better things.

The thing that I liked about this film was that it exposed the true colors of homophobia. Christians should reach out to homosexuals and stop pretending to be superior to them, because, above all, they are not. They are simply sinners saved by grace just liked the rest of us.

…I do not recommend this film.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Adam Renkovish, age 27 (USA)
Negative—Well, first off, this movie was completely vulgar, every scene of this movie was jaw-dropping. How this movie did not make NC-17 I’ll never know. Male nudity the entire movie along with the gay sex scenes did not make for a good movie at all. I would most certainly never watch it again.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 1
—Robert Brunson, age 25 (USA)
Negative—I saw “Borat” when it came out, and I actually thought it was pretty funny. I was thinking “Bruno” was going to be the same way, unfortunately I was very wrong. I have seen a lot of movie’s that I shouldn’t have, but this one was hands down the most perverted, disgusting movie I have ever seen. Me and my friend ended up leaving about 10 min. before the movie ended. Bruno and his lover end up coming really close to having sex in a UFC kind of cage in front of a huge crowd of people. That was just too much for me, since it was like the 3rd sex scene in the movie. I would never recommend this movie, its not even that funny considering you will probably have your eyes covered most of the movie. I think that’s what the producers were going for though, so I guess good job to them, they definitely succeeded.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Austin, age 20 (USA)
Negative—Disgusting, totally disgusting. What a monstrous act of distastefullness! Perhaps Borat seemed funny, and perhaps I DID giggle a few when I saw that, but this lewd, sick nonsensical piece of ludicrousness needs to be shunned. MY goodness gracious. This world is so sick. And to think one can become famous and a millionaire for carrying acts of such nature.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 1
—Weneedpersonality, age 40 (USA)
Comments from young people
Negative—I love Sacha Cohen in the movie “Borat” and “Ali G,” but this movie pushed it to far. I left after the first 20 minutes, because it wasn’t funny at all, and it was probably worse then any blood and gore or anything I’ve ever scene in the first few minutes. I also have no idea how this movie got only R.

Just shows how desensitized our world is. My girlfriend is lost, and she even walked out with me because she said the sex scene with the boy was just too much. Honestly, you got to be a pretty sick-minded individual to see this…
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 2
—Drew, age 17 (USA)
Negative—As a new 17 year old, I have found this new power to not have to sneak into the R rated movies. As I’m sitting there watching this movie with a non believer friend, I can’t help but wonder what kind of horrible message this is portraying, and how I am being a lousy witness by watching and occasionally laughing at this vulgar movie. When I walked out of the theater, I couldn’t help but think about the $10 I wasted and my poor judgment on going to see this movie.

As a christian, we are to guard are hearts from all things impure and unholy. Now, this can be hard at some times, but this movie was not on the border of acceptable or unacceptable… it was a disaster and a poor choice on mine and any others who claim Jesus to be their savior to go see.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Kyle, age 17 (USA)
Negative—Like the reviewer said, this movie finds every way to make itself offensive. Unlike the reviewer though, I liked this movie much more than “Borat.” I gave it a negative because really there is nothing in this movie that is acceptable by Christian moral standards. I looked away at a few parts although I was still laughing. I really found there to be under 15 “f” words, but the dialog talks a lot about sex, whether it be homosexual or heterosexual.

The people I went with commented on how they felt weird after watching it, but really liked it. I don’t know if the reviewer doesn’t understand that Bruno really doesn’t have any co-stars to laugh at him. He’s trying to mess with people and what makes it funny is that they are so clueless. His “boyfriend” in the movie wouldn’t laugh because he’s in character.

This isn’t “Jackass,” where a bunch of “professionals” mess around. I loved the movie, but because of the content I give it an Extremely Offensive rating. The hidden camera stuff was all good, all wonderful quality, no visible mistakes with anything on the other side of the camera.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Tyler, age 16 (USA)
Negative—The movie “Bruno” was so bad it’s ridiculous! So much swearing, nudity, and homosexuality that I couldn't bare to watch it again! Who wants to see a not funny movie with gay guys and pictures of penises?! completely stupid. It wasn’t even funny!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: ½
—Jacob Atkinson, age 14 (USA)
Negative—“Bruno” is nothing short of R-rated gay porn. It’s amazing that films of this degree of pornographic images can get the same rating as movies that have real redeeming value. In addition to all that, the film it self is not actually funny, the trailer is better than the movie. If you want to see this for the funny things in the trailer, save yourself the time, money, and emotional scarring and just watch the trailer.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 2
—Michael, age 17 (USA)
Comments from non-viewers
I went to see Borat when it came out, it was offensive but tolerable. Remembering this and seeing the trailer for “Bruno” I decided to go see it. Five minutes into the film there is a homosexual sex scene in which the likes of which should never be viewed by anyone let alone a believer in Christ. The worst part about it is they don’t want you to only accept it but they want you to find it humorous, to do that is beyond depraved by a Christian worldview standard.

I stayed in my seat after the scene shocked to only see 10 minutes later full frontal male nudity which they also want you to laugh at. I immediately left the theater and got my money back. No Christian should see this let alone any self respecting human being. There were children in the audience in my theater! My heart hurts just remembering it. …
—Kolton, age 21 (USA)
I have NOT seen this movie nor do I plan too. I also hope and pray that no one reading this does either. I have read several reviews for this movie and none of which were good. This movie should be X rated. Before I became a pastor, I did see many movies and other things I wish I never had seen. I know my Lord has forgiven me, and HE does not remember this anymore. I wish I could forget all of it.

The Bible tells us to put no evil before our eyes. I sure can understand why. If you are thinking of seeing this movie to see if it is as bad as people say it IS… PLEASE DON’T! We do not need to put our hands in a fire to see if it burns as bad as someone who has been burned says it does!
—Pastor Ken Deemer, age 63 (USA)
I agree with Pastor Deemer. We should not allow this type of perversity before our eyes or the eyes of our children. I took my kids to see a cartoon movie this morning and Bruno was playing in the theater next to the restrooms. They had a movie “guard” standing at the door to make sure no one under 17 would enter the theater. I’m glad for that… however… a movie that needs a guard at the door should not be permitted in the theater. God tells us in His word to guard our hearts and our minds. It says in the book of James that the laws God gives us are “Laws of Liberty.” God knows how harmful these things are and wants to protect us from the harm they cause. Exercise wisdom. Don’t let curiosity—or anything else for that matter—draw you to see this movie.
—Heather, age 39 (USA)
Perhaps potential viewers would be best to consider two or three things before watching anything remotely like this. The advert alone is sexually provocative. It should immediately put this film out of bounds. So why not ask these questions? First ask, “Can I sit in front of my TV, DVD player and watch this having prayed, ‘For what I am about to receive may the Lord make me truly thankful?’” Next ask yourself, “Could my Lord at any time, have either watched it without temptation or sin, or without giving a bad example to those who would fall into sexual temptations by watching? Could He then have gone to the Cross as a sinless substitute for my sins of watching such things with their sinful influences?”

Remember, when young believers see older believers exercising their “liberty” they argue with their conscience saying, “If he can, I can!”

Lastly, remember the concepts of sanctification the New Testament encourages both with transformation by the renewing and not the polluting of the mind. Also the positive encouragement that whatsoever things are pure and of good report, etc, think on these things. The question should not be, “Will this do my thoughts any harm?”, but “What is there in this that will build up my Christian purity and strengthen my faith and lead me closer to Christ?”

I think these considerations will help those who excuse inappropriate film and DVD watching from continuing. Abstention is a good policy. I don’t need to watch such films, even to review them, so why give up time in one short life when so many need even my leisure time to seek to win them to Christ or to support them in the Christian life?
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 2
—Pastor David Harding, age 56 (Milnrow, near Manchester, United Kingdom)
I have not seen this movie and plan not to. I recommend no one see this. I saw the preview on TV a few times, and it really disgusted me. The guy is sick, and he even admits he is gay. So he is gay—that is his choice, but the whole point is the way this movie is. The guy dresses like he is trying to be sexy, which is not good for children. This movie is definitely not for children to watch, since it is rated R, and if you are a Christian like me, you would not see this either. God did not want us to see filth, and I know we all might of once in our lives, but we need to stop. Hollywood is getting too far now with their movies. I am glad there are Christian movie producers out there.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Very Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 1
—Julie, age 37 (USA)
…I don’t care how funny it is, I believe it’s wrong to subject ourselves to pornography! God tells us to think on pure and holy things. Why do we choose to watch movies like these? Please do not lower your standards and become desensitized to the sin of the world.
—Chrissy, age 24 (USA)