Views & Reviews From Writer Steve Miller
Formerly Reviews and Stuff at Rotten Tomatoes, 2005 - 2009.

Currently Showing at Cinema Steve

Saturday, July 11, 2009

'Bruno' was surprisingly boring

Bruno (2009)
Starring: Sasha Baron Cohen and Gustaf Hammerstein
Director: Larry Charles
Rating: Three of Ten Stars

I went to see "Bruno" expecting it to be stupid and gross. I did not expect it to be boring.

The problem with the movie is exactly what I feared: The central character, the cartoonishly flaboyantly and obnoxiously homosexual fashion reporter Bruno, is simply too much of a cartoon to support a full movie. Like the worst of the movies based on successful Saturday Night Live bits, "Bruno" is an illustration that sketch comedy should generally speaking remain short-form. However, the filmmakers did realize this and they attempted to mitigate the problem by making a movie that is, essentially, an unconnected series of vinettes organzied around a storyline that sees a disgraced Bruno trying to hang onto what little media spotlight he has by trying to become a celebrity who is famous for being famous.

There are some genuinely funny bits in the film, but they are too few and too far between. Plus, you've already seen the punchlines for most of them if you've seen any "Bruno" commercials.

The "adopt-a-baby and use it for media attention" storyline and surrounding bits are funny, as is Bruno's attempts to "go straight" and the end credits sequence, but most of the rest of the film feels forced.

Worse, Bruno is a repulsive character, not just because he is sexually obsessed to a demented degree, but because he is mean-spirited and stupid. Borat at least had the saving grace of not being a vicious jackass. I spent most of my time watching this movie, wincing with embarrassment on behalf of Bruno because of his antics and meanness.

I recommend skipping this film, or at least waiting for the DVD release so you can rent it for cheap. It simply isn't good enough to pay even matinee prices for.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Karl Malden dead at 97

Karl Malden, the Academy Award-winning actor whose intelligent characterizations on stage and screen made him a star despite his plain looks, died Wednesday, his family said. He was 97.

Malden died of natural causes surrounded by his family at his Brentwood home, they told the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. He served as the academy's president from 1989-92.