The Bottom Line
- A bold, fearless comedy that provides several big laughs.
- The "enhanced commentary" on the Blu-ray provides great behind-the-scenes information.
- Misses the comedic target more often than not.
- Tries for the same satire as 'Borat,' but doesn't achieve it.
- Often confuses shock value for comedy.
- Release Date: 11/17/09
- Running Time: 82 minutes
- Rated R (for pervasive strong and crude sexual content, graphic nudity and language)
- 1.85:1 widescreen/1080p
- English DTS-HD 5.1 Audio, French and Spanish DTS 5.1 Surround
- English SDH, French and Spanish Subtitles
- Enhanced Commentary with Sacha Baron Cohen and Director Larry Charles
- One Hour of Alternative, Deleted and Extended Scenes
- Interview with Hollywood Agent Lloyd Robinson
Guide Review - Bruno - Blu-ray Review
I was underwhelmed by Sacha Baron Cohen's Bruno when it was released in Summer 2009, and I remain so today. The movie wants so badly to push buttons and confront Americans with their own attitudes about homosexuality that it ends up trying too hard and fails to really make its point. I admire its intentions (Cohen points out in the special features of this Blu-ray that gays are the last group that it's socially acceptable to discriminate against) and the comic abilities of Sacha Baron Cohen -- who is fearless and a truly gifted improvisational comic -- but the film isn't nearly as funny or satirical as its predecessor, 2006's Borat. It's by no means a disaster, but it is a misfire; while I hope Cohen continues to make this kind of in-your-face comedy, I hope that in the future the emphasis is on "comedy" more than "in your face."
Thankfully, the Bruno Blu-ray redeems a lot of the problems with the film thanks to two terrific bonus features. Fans of Cohen -- and even students of comedy -- owe it to themselves to check out the "enhanced commentary" feature, in which Cohen and director Larry Charles sit down to discuss the making of the film and the way that all of the segments were achieved. You can watch the two speak thanks to the "picture in picture" commentary option, and the pair pause and restart the film from time to time (stretching out the running time from 80 minutes to nearly two hours). The stories they tell and the way they approach the comedic stunts in the film will only make you gain appreciation for Cohen's creativity, comic bravery and incredible commitment to the character. I actually enjoyed the "enhanced commentary" better than the film, but it also improves the experience of watching it when you know the behind-the-scenes stories.
The second great addition to this Blu-ray disc is the hour's worth of deleted, extended and alternate scenes. Freed from the context of the narrative plot -- which brings the movie down as much as anything -- what you get is a series of interviews with Bruno and various subjects (including Pete Rose and the much-publicized deleted scene with LaToya Jackson). This environment is always where Cohen shines, where he can totally commit to his character and draw out the ugliness of almost everyone around him. That's where the satire in Bruno lies, and the collection of excised material works better than a lot of what made the finished film.
Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the publisher. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.