Once again the idea is that Brüno is a character from another country, another world even than the one we'd know even, and he's coming to ours with a big clash.
That's pretty much the idea and how it plays out, however with Brüno there's more of an attempt at a real story behind it all, something with emotion and drama, and a little more depth but still with the set sequences of ridiculing real life people in real life situations.
It's after an interview at a fashion show in a strange Velcro suit that his downfall begins, for he gets caught up in the staging and flounders out onto the runway. Pretty soon he's barred from every show in the city and his show is doomed. He's sacked.
So he has the great idea to head to Los Angeles and recreate himself, and find something new he can be successful at. In the meantime the people he meets as he tries his new ventures are the ones who are left in his wake, hurt and confused.
I have to admit upfront, I've lost touch with Sacha Baron Cohen's humour. I was once in touch with it when he was doing his television show and really appreciated the way he used his seemingly idiotic characters and misunderstanding of events to put an interviewee in a very difficult position, disarming them and often getting them to say something that was not only funny but often revealing or insightful. That was then.
Now he delivers comedy roles like Talladega Nights or Borat, and any subtlety in his performances are totally gone. It's now about making a complete mockery of someone by any means necessary, and while I admire the way he does it and the lengths that he'll go to, the style of humour that totally rips apart and ridicules someone serves no other purpose than to belittle and embarrass them.
I think the first problem I had with the film was the character, he was thoroughly dislikeable and there was nothing to connect with. When we look at Borat there's a child-like element to his character that is appealing, that loveable naivety. With Brüno, there's nothing there to like, and he really is designed to stretch the patience and understanding of the people he meets, and he does that perfectly.
The next problem shouldn't really be a problem, it should actually be a strength of the film, however it ends up being another huge negative, the idea of bringing an actual plot to the film that should add some depth and width to the story and the character. However it takes a standard plot set-up and is hardly fleshed out at all, ending up to be incredibly weak and it's obvious that it was there just to string together the different set-ups. Not only is it weak but it holds nothing surprising or interesting to pull the audience into the film.
After we realise that the character is unappealing and the story is disastrously weak and unconvincing, we're left with a series of sketches which are completely unrelated where the character enters the lives of real people and tries to anger and offend them while they are offering him understanding and experience of something new, something of theirs. There's nothing clever or interesting about this and it fails miserably to entertain, apart from those people who are entertained by others misery and embarrassment.
Furthermore there's a distinct feeling that some of these set-ups are just that, set-up. I know that they already are, but it seems that the people involved in the joke are perhaps a little too involved. Some of the people who are apparently being fooled just seem to behave a little too conveniently. Now maybe this is down to editing, but sometimes it just doesn't feel right.
There's also something about the fact that everything has to do with sex, which isn't a bad thing and anyone who knows me will probably be surprised by that comment, but when I'm watching a film, and in particular comedy, I like something a little more clever, something that Cohen used to do very well.
For me there's perhaps a sense that as he's turned Hollywood over the years since he found fame there, and with that so has his comedy. That's very apparent with the move from Borat to Brüno, and especially when looking at his television show appearances to present day.
This is all a shame for I've seen him in a few more dramatic roles, and he does appear to be a good actor and there's a fair bit of talent there, I just wish he'd pick something a little more intelligent in order to bring it out.
The picture is good and holds up well on the iTouch through the darker scenes. Once again I'm impressed that there aren't any issues with the film on such a small screen, but it delivers a sharp and clear picture throughout.
There's not much to say about the audio, it's stereo and the delivery of voices in stereo does just that.
Brüno is a terrible film and undoubtedly a very low point in the career of Sacha Baron Cohen, a talented actor and comedian, just not here. The cheap laughs don't deliver much in the way of laughing, but it does have a couple of sniggers here and there, perhaps not for the right reasons.
If you really are a die hard fan of Borat and Cohen then this might just work for you, otherwise I would suggest staying clear.