It is quite obviously because I'm a hysterical, humorless bitch that I don't see the comedy genius of Sacha Baron Cohen's Brüno [spoiler warning]:
In the current cut of the film, Bruno (Cohen) and his ditched, lovesick assistant Lutz (Gustaf Hammerstan) reunite in the movie's third act centerpiece: an Arkansas cage match where the two begin to make out inside the cage while an angry audience mob reacts with disbelief and, eventually, makeshift hurled weapons. In the film's epilogue, the reconnected couple embrace domesticity with their adopted baby, and Bruno sings us into the credits with the help of an star-studded, satirical gay rights anthem.If only I had a sense of humor, I'm sure I would understand why revealing the victim of a brutal gay-bashing to be permanently disabled is hilarious. Because I don't have a sense of humor, I'm not sure at all—but I imagine it has something to do with how hilarious disabled people are, too, to people with senses of humor.
However, when Baron Cohen and director Larry Charles screened the film back in February for a select industry audience, the result of that cage match wasn't nearly as rosy.
Writer-director Richard Day (Arrested Development, Ellen) was among the industry figures at the screening. In that version, Day tells Movieline, "The cage-match kiss resulted in a violent attack on the couple. They then cut to a press event where they are announcing their marriage or plans to, I forget which. But the boyfriend is now drooling, seemingly brain-damaged, and in a wheelchair, played for laughs."
Day notes that he and actor Jack Plotnick were the only gay people invited to the screening, and that after the film ended, the other industry figures gave the film a thumbs-up. "Then I started in and Jack joined with his thoughts. By the time I got to the bashing, the audience started defending the movie. They were annoyed with us for ruining the party."It sounds like Richard Day and Jack Plotnick don't have senses of humor, either. I wonder if they'd totes be my new BFFs?
At Moveline, Kyle introduces this information with the note that Brüno "has already prompted extensive debate about whether it's well-intended satire or a joke that's poised to blow up in the face of the gay community." The fact that anyone can seriously suggest that a movie made by a straight dude with the ostensible purpose of critiquing homophobia would "blow up in the face of the gay community" seems to quite pointedly underline the problem with this movie—it targets gays at least as much (ahem) as it allegedly targets their oppressors.
[Previously on Brüno: One, Two, Three, Four, Five.]