When it comes to awful movies, Pat Buchanan once quipped he didn't have to look underneath a manhole cover to know there's a sewer down below. The smutty new movie "Bruno" can be read by its cover. In the midst of a barrage of crude sexual humor, master satirist Sacha Baron Cohen is once again exposing Americans for what Time magazine calls their "ignorance and prejudice, hypocrisy and primitive rage."
Yes, I'm sure it has its funny moments, and some are laugh-out-loud hilarious. I say I'm sure because I really don't know. I was on my way to the theater when I reversed course. I'm not going to give these slimy people $9.50, or $1.50. Besides, it's all there on the Internet.
In his last film, "Borat," Cohen played an idiotic journalist from Kazakhstan who attempted to expose unsuspecting people as misogynistic, racist and anti-Semitic. The new title character of "Bruno" is a flamboyantly gay Austrian fashion reporter who is going to expose the raging "homophobia" in America, especially the South (also targeted in the last film).
But this character is so unbelievably stupid and self-absorbed that the film seems to set the cause of sexual "liberation" backward by a decade or two.
The shock and disgust arrives early, when Bruno has a tiny Asian lover who helps him pour champagne. It's not hard to imagine where Cohen places the champagne bottle as he pours the little man like a teapot.
Bruno decides to come to America and make a pilot of a new celebrity-interview show. But since Bruno is an idiot and can't land a celebrity interview, we're left with a scene where a focus group watches as Cohen's pilot displays a long, drawn-out shot of a penis twirling around like a pinwheel, which then points at the camera and "speaks."
The focus group speaks for almost everyone when they suggest they'd rather pluck their eyes out than watch any more of this garbage.
"Bruno" originally drew an NC-17 rating, but the viewer is left wondering if putting a tiny black box over sex acts, real or simulated (like group sex at a swingers club) is all Cohen needed to get an R rating. This film's full-frontal nudity and gross-out clips are more than a permissive parent bringing a teenager will expect.
It's not a huge hit with audiences -- it "flamed out in its second weekend," the website Box Office Mojo reported, without a wink. But it will make enough profit in theatres and on DVD to offer Cohen another opportunity to abuse unsuspecting Americans with his film droppings.