Saturday, August 15, 2009


I'm Not Funny

Vassup! So the new flim by funnyman Sacha Baron Cohen finally got the green light to be screened, but alas it's a censored version instead. More on that later, but I suppose the word now is whether Cohen's gay fashionista model-host from Austria is able to replicate what his Kazakhstan reporter Borat succeeded in drawing out some genuine laughter. My personal verdict, and I had enjoyed Borat, was that this gay icon fell short on many counts.

Larry Charles seemed to have followed his Borat film strategy closely again since the formula ain't broke, but somehow, this film came across feeling too staged, unlike its predecessor. The skits that pepper the narrative, especially when you have Bruno interviewing real folks and capture their reactions and response in candid camera-like manner, fell too short and centered too much on Bruno as a personality and taking the brunt of the comedy, rather than allow for the comedy to come out naturally from the dumb things other people do and say.

Bruno begins in rather boring terms, where Charles had felt the need to walk you through Bruno's life in Austria, before getting unceremoniously dumped for being an irritant, and breaking up with his partner (which irked the censors enough to leave their love making antics on the cutting room floor). He then decides to cross the Atlantic for the USA to become a celebrity and gain world fame. So this gives rise to its potential clashing of cultures and lifestyle values, primarily since Bruno is openly homosexual and doesn't mince his actions to demonstrate so, when imposing them on unsuspecting victims from agents to test audiences, from glamorous charity patrons to religious leaders.

If anything, one should give credit to Cohen for his in-your-face, daring insults by playing it crooked. As mentioned, Bruno bore the brunt of most of the jokes, and it probably wasn't easy since you can see the adverse reactions of everyone else that Bruno interacts with, being totally disgusted. At times the film did seem to be exploring 101 ways of insulting and shocking people, captured in the film, as well as the audience, rather than to deliver a comedy. One can only wonder if the open showing of male genitalia (which includes a singing dick head!) and so on, are shrewdly used as a benchmark to test every country's censorship board in order to see which is the more stringent of them all.

Given its rather offensive nature, the censors here have decided that even with the highest available rating for a screening cannot go unscathed without a reportedly cumulative one minute's worth of footage being left out. This automatically meant that chunks and segments of the skits get left out quite abruptly, and along with those scenes, probable worthy punchlines as well. You may have seen stills or clips of the moment where Bruno is with his African child amongst African American parents in a talk show. Well that got cut out badly as a scene prior had primed you for what's to come.

So for those who intend to watch Bruno strut his stuff, you might want to do so elsewhere. It's already quite hard up in trying to forcefully deliver some laughs, and being butchered further meant you'll be really hard pressed to find something to laugh at. If Borat was to have a say, he'll tell you it's not vair nice.

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