We know the plot here. Sacha Baron Cohen is Brüno, a flamboyantly gay fashion TV presenter in Austria with a fetish for Hitler, who comes to the USA to restart his career, filmed veritas using as many real people and as few actors as possible. It is filthy, funny, and exposes all sorts of prejudice and bigotry in society, while having a laugh at many people’s expense – my favourite being the parents of child models willing to put their kids through all sorts of dangers to get them a gig.
But it was the same with the Borat DVD. While the film is as fun as all hell, the DVD is packed with deleted scenes that make you ask why the hell more of them weren’t in the actual film itself.
And boy is Brüno full of them, from interviews with fashion designers that make Sacha Baron Cohen’s Brüno look the height of normality (I don’t need to have a unified consistent vision of my fashion because I’m Vincent. This is what I’m here to do to breathe fire, right into my clothes – Vincent Libretti), asking them how they would makeover Hitler in 1944 and literally fighting to get on the front row at a fashion shoot.
But it’s America where it really kicks off, from interviewing baseball player Pete Rose, sitting on Mexicans, and the restored scene with Latoyah Jackson giggling with relish at eating off a naked Mexican man as Brüno asks her to impersonate Michael for him.
In the film Bruno, we see Sacha Baron Cohen interview politician Ron Paul and then try to come onto him. On the DVD, you get to see him to the same to John Bolton, Gary Bauer and Tom Ridge, showing his clean sexual bill of health and boasting of his clean sphincter, and then dropping his trousers.
Real estate agents confirming which nationality of “slave” are least likely to show bruising or sue if you hit them, and interior designers give suggestions of how to stop disabled people coming into your house. Interviews with white supremacist Mel Lewis and how Jesus was a white non-Jew for Texan news channel KETV-TK 56 asking “So what do you think about black guys?” Interviewing Dallas Cowboys like Jeremy Callahan (and falling in love with Van Nelson while tackling him.) Attending the Prop 8 march, on the side of the supporters, trying to kiss an attendee, and at a gun show, meeting exhibitors, oh go on, let’s have a transcript;
Let’s say you got home, you opened the door, and there were these two latino guys, tanned, shoulder length hair would you pump your load into them?
Wow, would you shoot your load on their chest or in their face?
Shoot the bigger target. The chest.
Would you ever unload your weapon into a guy’s mouth?
Wherever I could put it.
And there’s an extended interview with agent Lloyd Robinson post-movie about his experience about being stunted in the film and his reaction to the bizarre individual who walked through his door.
But it’s the visually limited sight of a Hawking-style computer-speak back and forth with the scientist Gerald Lushington over instant messaging, both participants gagged, that’s the highlight, as Bruno’s messages to his boyfriend interrupt the interview. No big names, no fancy antics, just the hilarity of being trapped in the most uncomfortable situation in the world. I can’t understand why it wasn’t on the big screen, save that people may just have run out in blind panic.
Brüno is a controversial film for all sorts of reasons. Does it celebrate what it chooses to mock? Does it intentionally present a dated stereotype for comedy effect that may go over the heads of its audience? Is it propagating what it intends to send up?
Probably. A bit. It is however fucking funny. The DVD takes it to a whole new level. And there are a whole bunch of people who are about to find out just who that strange Austrian person they were talking to a couple of years ago was…