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Brüno

6/10

Stars: Sacha Baron Cohen, Gustaf Hammarsten

Director: Larry Charles

Sacha Baron Cohen is back, pulling the wool over the eyes of more gullible Americans (and Arabs), not this time as the lingo-mangling Ali G or awful Kazakhstani Borat, but as a flamboyant, 19-year-old Austrian homosexual. Some of his antics are horribly funny, others just horrible, all calculated to outrage, amuse and shock at the same time and all, of course, in the worst possible taste.

Fired from his own fashion show for being just too OTT - 'For the second time in a century, the world had turned on Austria's greatest man', Brüno laments (there are more Hitler jokes later on) - before heading for fame and fortune elsewhere.

In America he has a talk show, where the guests sit on Mexican gardeners - Paula Abdul (a sequence featuring LaToya Jackson has been cut) soon flees - nips over to Africa to adopt a black baby he calls OJ, then inveigles starstruck parents into putting their children forward for tableaux, like being 'crucified' or in Nazi uniform wheeling a Jewish child to the ovens. After more and more outrageous 'Is your child comfortable with this?' questions', Brüno (and, you sense, Baron Cohen) gives up.

Other failed ventures are followed by our hero enrolling in a 'straightening' course (yes, they really exist), in which he's given army training, then sent on a hunting expedition with three rednecks. Creeping naked into one of their tents at night, he explains that 'a bear ate my clothes. All of them.'

There are also lessons from an oddball karate instructor. 'How can I protect myself from homosexuals?' Brüno asks, to be told 'They will probably attack from behind' (that did get a laugh). Two blonde PR girls are scarier than anything Bruno can muster, while the film ends with an amusing star-studded song with Elton John accompanying, playing a piano while sitting on a Mexican gardener.

Watch closely: you can tell by Baron Cohen's eyes that he's not serious, only summing up the bigger fools so full of their own 'thing' that they never realise it's all a fake.

NB: A re-cut 15-certificate version of this film will be available in Britain from 24 July.



David Quinlan

UK 2009. UK Distributor: Universal. Colour.
81 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 18.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 3, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 2.

Review date: 05 Jul 2009