Sunday, July 12, 2009

SBC is funnier when he's unscripted

I saw Brüno Friday night. The Theater was packed for the 9:50pm show. It was a funny movie - but Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, in comparison, was funnier. Sacha Baron Cohen is a genius guerrilla comedian, duping Congressmen into eating cheese made from his sister's breast milk, or extolling potassium to rodeo fans, or running naked through a convention center, or revealing the stupidity & racism of some drunken SC college students. Most of Borat "seemed" unscripted, spontaneous people speaking what they really think, not from queue cards.

A great deal of Brüno came across as contrived, scripted, almost 'rehearsed'. Richard Bey used to have a talk show, but that ended more than 8 years ago. I wanted to believe the talent agency interviews were unscripted, but it was very hard to make that leap. The Alabama hunter scenes were hilarious and massively pushed boundaries, but did not get to the authenticity of the visceral hatred revealed in the Arkansas cage match.

I heard one NPR reviewer (Mondello) say he liked it and appauld SBC's ability to "remake himself", and another (Edelstein) laud it for how it promoted gay awareness, even if it sort of beat it into your head - Edelstein also detested Borat.

Catch stooges saying stupid, racist, greedy, ignorant, xenophobic, fundamentalist, Idiocracy-type things, and it is comic gold. Have them read it off a teleprompter, and it loses it's punch. I liked Brüno, ut it was not as good as Borat.


  1. I had the same feeling. The swinger party was really funny, as was the Arkansas hunter scene and the scene with the spiritual medium...the air-ball rusty trombone had me nearly on the floor. But it wasn't nearly the comic genius of Borat. I think part of it is that Bruno is not nearly as developed a character as Borat. With Borat, we could count on hilarity from his feigned anti-semitism, sexual jokes, physical comedy (e.g. chickens on a subway, bears in an ice cream truck), and the impromptu inanity of many of the people he interviewed. But with Bruno, he's got more limited character traits to work with: essentially only the homophobia of others.

    Anne had a much more negative opinion of the film. She was ready to walk out. The steel cage match was just too much for her.

  2. Dr D.F. had the same negative opinion, just from my re-counting of scenes to her after I saw it. It was way "over the top".

    Along with homophobia, was also America's obsession with celebrity at any cost. SBC juggles these both quite well, and I thoroughly appreciated his mockery of the fame-driven parents, as well as his own hunger to re-gain stardom.

    When I saw Borat, in SC, a redneck in a cowboy hat and chaw in his back pocket stormed out at the rodeo scene, his center-console-straddling girl friend 'Stephanie' running after him, and the theater was at most, 1/5th full. At Brüno, there might have been 5 empty seats in the whole place, and no one got up and left (here in W. Phoenix).


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