Bruno review: The Current Cinema: The New Yorker.
Here are some of his victims: golden-blond P.R. floozies from California, good ol’ hunting boys from Alabama, and a couple of Southern pastors who specialize in converting homosexuals. Does anything strike you about that list? So clearly have they been picked for their mockability that Baron Cohen is left with nothing to prove...Baron Cohen, having sneaked his way into a discussion, seldom has the nerve to keep his side of the bargain, preferring to cut things short with a gibe...
I realized, watching “Borat” again, that what it exposed was not a vacuity in American manners but, more often than not, a tolerance unimaginable elsewhere. Borat’s Southern hostess didn’t shriek when he appeared with a bag of feces; she sympathized, and gently showed him what to do...I feel that the patsy, though gulled, comes off better than the gag man; the joke is on Baron Cohen, for foisting indecency on the decent. The joker is trumped by the square.
Here’s the deal, apparently: if celebrities aren’t famous enough for your liking (Ron Paul, Paula Abdul), or seem insufficiently schooled in irony, you make vicious sport of them, but if they’re A-listers, insanely keen to be in on the joke, they can join your congregation. Would Baron Cohen dare to adopt a fresh disguise and trap Sting in some outlandish folly, or is he now too close a friend? To scour the world for little people you can taunt, and then pal up with the hip and rich: that is not an advisable path for any comic to pursue, let alone one as sharp and mercurial as Baron Cohen.