Following the hit Borat, Sacha Baron Cohen returns with a third character from Da Ali G Show – Brüno. Brüno is a gay Austrian fashion reporter who is fired after disrupting a Milan Fashion Week catwalk. His lover then leaves him for another man, and Brüno decides to come to America to become a superstar. He tries unsuccessfully to become an actor and creates an over-the-top talk show, which the focus group hates.
During the film he attempts to interview Harrison Ford, who is nastier than has ever been seen before, but he succeeds in interviewing Paula Abdul and other celebrities, as well as various senators. He also tries to make his name as a peace negotiator for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with less than spectacular results.
The film's underlying theme of exposing people’s homophobic prejudices shows how intolerant many people are of the gay lifestyle. This is shown through Brüno meeting with Christian homosexual conversion experts to “deprogram him,” introducing a gay wrestler, and more. Brüno is not shy about who he is, and will not “dial it down” but when he gets nowhere by being himself, he vows to become straight and does so in his own unique way.
The extras for Brüno are abundant, including a commentary with Sacha Baron Cohen and director Larry Charles. During the commentary they talk about filming the movie, including many near misses with the police, homophobic encounters with the public, and how they pulled off many of the scenes. For anyone who’s ever wondered “how they did that” this is the commentary for you.
This is also only the second commentary (The Simpsons Movie being the first) that I’ve watched where the commentators pause the DVD to continue talking. It adds almost 30 minutes to the film, extending the 80-minute film to nearly two hours.
There’s a trilogy of scene types under the extras header — deleted, alternate, and extended. “Deleted Scenes” are scenes cut for time or because they just didn’t work in the film's context. Also included is the scene with LaToya Jackson where Brüno tricks her into an interview in an attempt to get to her brother Michael. The scene would have been in the film, but Michael died the day of the film’s premiere and it was cut out of respect. “Alternate Scenes” are just a few alternate ideas including an aborted interview with baseball legend Pete Rose, who quickly loses patience with Brüno and storms out. “Extended Scenes” add some time to scenes in the movie but don’t add much.
“Interview with Lloyd Robinson” is a chat with Brüno’s onscreen agent, who didn’t understand the gag until the film was released. Before that, when the agent saw billboards for the movie he thought his client had really made it big.