If you've tired of me bitching about Baron Cohen, I don't blame you a bit, but as long as he keeps turning his terrorist comedy into feature-length films, it is my Blog-given duty to fight that bastard until one of us dies. The thing is, Baron Cohen really comes out limping in Bruno: putting models on the spot about the difficulty of runway walking? Picking on two well-meaning blond women for not knowing where Darfur is?? Telling a gay-to-straight converter that he has good dick-sucking lips??? Yeesh. What's next? Bruno giving a blind person the wrong directions and then stepping back and snickering? I do admit to a kind of satisfaction, though, while watching Bruno, because it truly felt like watching a hack running out of juice. Even the lukewarm critical response to Bruno has been somewhat of a validation (albeit shallow), because - and don't let the face-saving apologists tell you otherwise - Borat and Bruno are the exact same movies. They both suck for the same reasons.
Though the recorded reactions of Bruno's subjects are manipulated in post-production in the same way that your standard reactionary documentary would do it, I'm still amazed at the amazement audiences and critics express when they witness somebody react outrageously to Baron Cohen's outrageousness. Seems pretty in line to me. Are we really supposed to flip out when Ron Paul - in the middle of his Presidential campaign, mind you - flips out after Bruno gets pant less and puts moves on the congressman? Should we seriously feign disbelief after an Alabama hunter can't believe he's been duped into thinking that the naked man forcing his way into his tent genuinely wanted to learn about outdoors-y stuff? Should we truly be frustrated with the swinger who gets frustrated at Bruno for interrupting his c*mshot?
One thing is certain, though, and that's that each one of those men were noticeably embarrassed and humiliated. Of course, the smoking gun in all of those scenarios (save the hunter... as far as I can remember), the "crime" that Baron Cohen intends to hang his justification of invasion on, is the usage of the "Q" word. What Baron Cohen really wants, what his treasure hunt through interview after interview entails, is to catch his subjects on camera using defamatory slang for gays. So, when Ron Paul and the swinger dude both say "queer", Baron Cohen gets his money shot. He's like a mobile paparazzi hiding behind freakish costumes and base makeup waiting for that ultimate upskirt.
"Paparazzi-comedy"... maybe that's the best way to describe Cohen's approach to humor. Whatever it is, it's no surprise that this type of crass entertainment can grab the #1 box-office slot in our TMZ-obsessed culture, it's just a shame that so many should-know-betters continue to praise it. Although, happily, that appears to be shifting. Screw Sacha Baron Cohen and that one-trick pony he rode in on.