Once again Bruno is in the hot seat, and this time we don’t mean Eminem’s face. “Bruno,” one of Sacha Baron Cohen’s many alter-egos, will make his big screen debut on July 10, but the film is already receiving non-fashion related critique. In the film/mockumentary, Cohen (aka Borat and Ali G) plays the-not-the-brightest-bulb-in-the-shed, homosexual Austrian fashion commentator Bruno. Though fans have eagerly waited for the films release for years, gay rights groups are not exactly chomping at the bit. In a recent New York Times article, Rashad Robinson, senior director of media programs for the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation states, “Some people in our community may like this movie, but many are not going to be OK with it…Sacha Baron Cohen’s well-meaning attempt at satire is problematic in many places and outright offensive in others.” Translation: people won’t understand Bruno is a joke.
“Bruno” is utterly offensive…that’s the whole point. Like “Borat” with antisemitism, “Bruno” forces people to face societal stereotypes head-on in absurd situations. The real humor lies in the fact that people don’t realize the joke is on them. Yes, it is easy to laugh at the sheer silliness of the flaming wonder that is “Bruno,” but the true laughs come at the expense of people’s ignorance and intolerance. The movie has the rare opportunity to get millions of people to sit down for two hours and confront homophobia. Getting people to focus on anything for two hours is impressive enough, but on a serious matter…excuse me for a moment, I need to go update my Twitter. Yes, “Bruno” flamboyantly embraces and then amplifies every homosexual stereotype known to man, but I think people are smart enough to understand that this is a satire. If America can’t figure that out, we should enlist Mr. Cohen to do a satire on our education system.