Why didn’t someone tell me that Brüno was one of the funniest movies ever made?

bruno- this oneI’m behind on two things: Summer movies and Howard Stern, so, prompted by Howard Stern talking at great length about how much he liked this new movie Brüno, I finally had to go see it.

Now, when a movie’s good, you hear about it, there’s a buzz amongst friends about a Hangover or, well, Borat. And if the movie’s really something special, your friends won’t let you not-know it. Which is why I was shocked at how unbelievably good Brüno was. Why wasn’t I bombarded with friends telling me that one of the funniest movies of all time was in theatres and I was missing it? So that’s why I’m writing this. You’re missing it.

Not that I can criticize, it’s August and I’m just going to see it. I guess I didn’t think it would be that funny either, and maybe that’s best because I had wonderfully low expectations; like hearing no word of mouth on some art film called Ghostbusters and then checking it out on quiet Sunday afternoon.

But holy shit is Brüno great. Much like Borat, Brüno is a series of comedic stunts that are linked though scripted scenes and voiceover into some form of haphazard plot. A genre Sasha Baron Cohen and Larry Charles invented, I believe. I’m a huge fan of stunt comedy. Some of my favorite Schadenfreude moments have been stunts we’ve pulled fooling the audience in one way or another. Andy Kaufman and Upright Citizen’s Brigade are also heroes of mine for their mastery of comedic stunts pulled on the unsuspecting to humor the suspecting. But Cohen and Charles are such masters of the form that, again, I think they invented. When I wasn’t laughing my ass off at how well executed every single stunt was comedically I was marveling at what must’ve went into pulling it all off. But, there’s nothing sadder than a movie that’s “technically” funny – so all insider analysis aside, this movie is legitimately funny from minute one to an ending that leaves me shaking my head at it’s brilliance. I struggle to think of a movie that’s made me laugh this hard. Not the poor-ass Nora Ephron Michael laughing; you know, where you laugh because you know you were supposed to. I’m talking but real, uncontrollable, out-loud, laughing.

I’d heard rumors that all the jokes were at the expense of homophobes, what a bunch of horseshit. This is no more about homophobia than Borat was about how much people hate foreigners. People hate foreigners who shit in plastic bags and then bring that bag to the dinner table. The Good Ol’ Boys from the Brüno trailer would’ve thrown Dale Earnhardt, Jr. out of their tent if he’d tried to enter it naked in the middle of the night too. What is a really nice surprise about Brüno is how much ground he covers in making fun of different groups, he hits far more bases than I expected, talk shows, agents, celebrity fads, stage mothers, psychics, and even research groups – to whom he shows a tv show that is mostly a bunch of closeups of penises.  The ending sketch does make fun of homophobes, and it’s the greatest most well-executed joke I might have ever seen.

While Borat is a better character, in Brüno the stunts seemed to be much more inventive, higher reaching, and better executed, even footage of them getting busted for filming is used in an ingenious sequence where Brüno states that he was blacklisted from the fashion industry.

9 out of 10 judgement units