'Bruno,' however, follows the same blueprint that made 'Borat' such a smash: Oblivious foreigner travels to America for showbiz glory, exposing the deep-seated prejudices of The States (and finding love!) in the process. Of course in the world of Baron Cohen, sociological experiments come with a side of giant bare asses or talking penises. We break down the differences -- and many similarities.
Three years after leaving audiences in stitches -- shocking and offending others in equal measure -- with 'Borat,' Sacha Baron Cohen is back at again with the even more incendiary and controversial 'Bruno.' It's the last leg in a trilogy of sorts for Baron Cohen, who's now made three full-length features from the triad of characters he created on HBO's cult classic 'Ali G Show.'
You're forgiven -- and lucky -- if you didn't see the disappointing, straight-to-DVD 'Ali G Indahouse,' featuring the show's most hilarious character, a clueless (of course) British hip-hopper, in a decidedly non-hilarious adventure comedy (think the worst of 'SNL' spin-offs).
'Bruno,' however, follows the same blueprint that made 'Borat' such a smash: Oblivious foreigner travels to America for showbiz glory, exposing the deep-seated prejudices of The States (and finding love!) in the process. Of course in the world of Baron Cohen, sociological experiments come with a side of giant bare asses or talking penises. We break down the differences -- and many similarities. (Warning: mild spoilers ahead.)
– By Kevin Polowy
'Borat': Sexist and anti-Semitic Kazakh TV news show personality
'Bruno': Flamboyantly gay and anti-Semetic Austrian TV fashion show personality
'Borat': He's sent to the U.S. by the Kazakh Ministry of Information to film a special on American customs and culture.
'Bruno': Blacklisted by the Viennese fashion scene, he travels to the U.S. to become a celebrity.
'Borat': After landing in New York -- scaring pedestrians with his friendliness and letting loose a chicken on a crowded subway -- he spends most of his time in the Heartland and Deep South.
'Bruno': After landing in Los Angeles -- scaring focus groups with his explicitly gay-themed TV show and pulling a human baby out of a box at the LAX baggage claim -- he spends most of his time in the Deep South, with one bold journey to the Middle East.
'Borat': His plus-size producer Azamat Bagatov (Ken Davitian), who just barely puts up with him.
'Bruno': His bookish assistant Lutz (Gustaf Hammarsten), whose unyielding devotion in part stems from the serious crush he has on him.
The Love Story
'Borat': After discovering 'Baywatch' on a hotel TV, the married Borat becomes obsessed with Pamela Anderson, even attempting to kidnap her. But true love is just around the corner, with a plus-size African-American prostitute.
'Bruno': Dumped by Diesel, an Asian-Austrian man half his size, he's oblivious to Lutz's longing for him. (Though upon the realization that John Travolta, Tom Cruise and Kevin Spacey, "America's most famous celebrities," are straight, he visits a "gay converter.")
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The Shock Humor
'Borat': A scene involving the lodging of Borat's face into Azamat's bare ass (in front of a stunned hotel conference crowd) provoked hysteria among audiences.
'Bruno': A much briefer scene involving a talking penis is provoking a similar reaction. There's also an endless stream of gay sex gags, many involving an exercise bike-turned-pleasure device.
Most Outrageous Stunts
'Borat': He naked wrestles his producer throughout a stunned New York hotel; returns from the restroom at an etiquette dinner party with a bag of human feces; attempts to kidnap Pamela Anderson and shove her into a "traditional marriage sack"; butchers the national anthem in front of a rabid rodeo crowd
'Bruno': He corners former Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul in a hotel room and attempts to seduce him; tricks Paula Abdul into sitting on his Mexican "furniture" -- actual Mexicans; appears on a 'Jerry Springer'-like talk show with his adopted black baby, OJ; goes at it with another man in front of a rabid caged fighting crowd
'Borat': The film was banned in all Arab countries except Lebanon; It was also shunned in Kazakhstan, though its popularity has reportedly made the Eastern European government "reevaluate their long-running condemnation of Baron Cohen." The Anti-Defamation League also released a statement about the film's portrayals of anti-Semitism.
'Bruno': The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), stating the film "does not unmask stereotypes," asked Universal to add a message encouraging tolerance to its end; the studio declined. A scene depicting Bruno interviewing La Toya Jackson about Michael Jackson has also been cut from the movie since the pop star's death. [more]
'Borat': The film's producers have been sued by two University of South Carolina frat brothers, one of the New York pedestrians scared of Borat, Macedonian singer Esma Redzepova and Romanian villagers, among others.
'Bruno': An elderly woman is suing Baron Cohen, claiming she was "crippled" by the actor during a charity bingo stunt that didn't make it into the final cut. Stay tuned for more.
How do you think 'Bruno' stacks up against 'Borat'? Sound off below.