I went to see this movie because I was curious to see what Sacha Baron Cohen had created to rile up so many gay organizations and because of the gay theme.
I watched Baron Cohen's HBO show featuring Alig G, Borat, and Brüno and I think he is a very funny comedian, a master actually, given the skits he comes up with and what he's able to get people to say or admit to. On camera.
I also watched the big screen treatments of Alig G and Borat, but only liked the latter. Brüno falls right in the middle: not as I-will-never-enjoy-life-again bad as Ali G, but not as enjoyably funny as Borat.
I usually avoid all trailers and spoilers, but because of the huge marketing campaign and the controversy surrounding it, it was quite hard this time not to miss a few of the most widely reported gags or jokes. Unfortunately, given the short length of the movie, those few gags and jokes turned out to be the bulk of it. As a result, I was neither shocked nor did I laugh much.
Did I like the movie? Yes and no. It was funny at times, but it also often fell flat. As a gay man, I find Brüno the character to be slightly offensive because it represents the stereotypical flamboyant gay man (at least what a gay man looks like in the minds of many straight people), but at the same time I also realize that he's so far out there, that no reasonable individual would think that's how gays behave.
And that's the crux of the controversy as well. Will audiences understand that Brüno doesn't represent the gay community at large? That gays don't behave like he does? That Brüno is a caricature meant to push buttons and not a portrayal of real life gays?
I'd like to think so, and I hope so, but you never know. One thing I do have to admit is that, in spite of his misadventures and the way in which people treat him and react to him, he always maintains his self-confidence. Brüno is gay, and he's unapologetic about it. To see such a feminine gay man on screen and not have him cry all over himself is a great accomplishment. In a way, Brüno is Will & Grace's Jack to the 10th degree.
My only question is, does that gigantic penis shown close-up really belong to Mr. Baron Cohen? If so, my compliments!!