Follow us on

Featured DVD Review: Bruno

November 14th, 2009

Brüno - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray

Bruno is Sacha Baron Cohen's follow-up to Borat, which is a movie that holds a special place in my heart... right next to the New York Rangers. I'm kidding. Borat is a very funny movie and one that I recommend picking up on DVD. However, it remains the single biggest blunder in my career as a box office analyst and that still stings three years later. With Borat being such a surprise success, people were expecting big things from Bruno, both at the box office, and with critics, but can it live up to heightened expectations? Or was the secret of Borat's success the fact that no one knew what to expect?

First a quick note, I only have the DVD. The Blu-ray won't ship until Tuesday, that is if I'm getting a review copy, which is not guaranteed. If I do, I will update this review as soon as possible.

Sacha Baron Cohen stars as Brüno, a fashion aficionado who has his own TV show in Germany. In fact, it is the highest-rated German-language fashion show, outside of Germany. However, when an embarrassing gaff at a fashion show costs him his job and his TV series, he travels to America in his quest to find celebrity. He gets himself an agent, books a few jobs, but basically bounces from one embarrassing situation to another.

When reviewing this movie, one can't help but compare it to Borat, as it has nearly the same formula. ... I'm trying to be generous when I say, "nearly," because it's nearly the same movie, but with different lead characters. This is problematic for two reasons. Firstly, it just doesn't seem fresh the second time around. Secondly, Brüno isn't nearly as empathetic a character. Yes, Borat was racist, anti-Semitic, sexist, etc., but you get the feeling that he's that way because he is naïve and he doesn't know any better. While watching the movie, I got the impression that with more experience around others, his bigoted views would change. And in fact, in the end he did change for the better, at least a little bit. On the other hand, while watching this movie, I got the impression that Bruno was just an ass. He started out as an ass. He went through the movie as an ass. He ended as an ass.

That said, there are some strikingly funny scenes in this movie. Unfortunately, I can't discuss them here without ruining them. (This is one of the problems with making a movie where the plot is mostly superfluous.) Some of them are merely throwaway lines, while other times the whole scene is uproarious. On the other hand, there are entire scenes that are cringe-worthy, which is why this movie is arguably better seen at home than in theaters. You can skip over the scenes that don't work.

Extras on the DVD start with an enhanced audio commentary track with the star, Sacha Baron Cohen, and the director, Larry Charles. The enhancement is the ability of the two to pause the movie, which gives them more time to talk in-depth about certain scenes, and they use it, a lot. The movie is 82 minutes long, but the enhanced version runs 108 minutes, or almost a third longer. Most of the rest of the extras are deleted scenes, or deleted / extended / alternative scenes, as they are divided up. In total there are 19 scenes for a total running time of just a hair shy of one hour, which is nearly as long as the movie itself. Some of these were wise cuts, but others really should have been left in. Finally, there's an interview with Lloyd Robinson, who is Brüno's agent in the movie. This is a good selection of extras, but not a great selection of extras.

Like I said, I only have the DVD at the moment, so I can't judge the Blu-ray on the basis of its technical presentation. However, I do know there are some additional deleted / extended / alternate scenes, but I can't give any details until the Blu-ray arrives. Also, the disc is BD-Live enabled, but there are no exclusive features found online. Looking at the price, over on Amazon it only costs 24% more, which is right in line with what I would consider a good price for this type of release.

Brüno is essentially a sequel to Borat. Or maybe it would be better to call it a spin-off, as they are both based on the same TV show. In direct comparison to that movie, this one is definitely weaker, but there's more than enough here that works that it is worth checking out. In fact, some of the scenes are so funny that is it worth buying over just renting, assuming you are a fan of this style of comedy. (On the other hand, if you hated Borat, odds are you will hate this movie even more.) Extras on both the DVD and Blu-ray are good, but not great, while the latter is the better deal if you are looking to buy the movie.

Reviewed by:

Filed under: Video Review, Brüno