Vassup Mit Brüno? – The Controversy behind Sacha Baron Cohen’s Latest Effort to Offend

Brüno is a bad movie! We have to stop this, people shouldn't watch this! But…how do you get mad at a movie that's sole purpose is to receive just that response? Whaaaat? That's an interesting question raised about Sacha Baron Cohen's latest flick about a gay Austrian who comes to America. This is following Borat, now that was controversial. It angered gay rights activists, the battle of the sexes, even the entire country of Kazakhstan! A spokesman for Kazakhstan said this of his character: "I think he should be killed. Our nation is most humane, but he should be killed straight away." And because of that whirlwind of controversy, Borat sky-rocketed to being not just a cult hit, but a worldwide sensation. "The joke is not on Kazakhstan," said Cohen in an interview with Rolling Stone. "I think the joke is on people who can believe that the Kazakhstan that I describe can exist-a country where homosexuals wear blue hats and the women live in cages and they drink fermented horse urine." $261.6 million worldwide box office dollars later, what could possible follow all of this up?

Enter Brüno, the second character off of Sacha Baron Cohen's Da Ali G Show (there's also Ali G himself along with Borat and Brüno in the series). In Brüno, Cohen gets fired from his fashion show in Austria, so he figures that he could make it big in America. From there, it just goes from bad to worse; from Brüno pouring glasses of champagne out of his boyfriend's ass to being whipped at a swinger's party by a woman with big breasts who produces "a lot of milk". I loved the movie when I saw it; it had to be one of the best comedies I've seen so far this year. Land of the Lost and Fired Up! got nothing on this fearless gay guy! This time around, people want to get mad, but why, to only feed the movie's aspiration like with Borat? Universal Pictures, which distributed Brüno, screened the movie for gay and lesbian groups to get their reactions, and in the end GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) asked the studio to include a bulletin of reinforcement for gays everywhere at the end of the mockumentary. The request, of course, was denied.

There was also the infamous MTV Movie Awards incident (which I missed because I had to go to the bathroom, URGH!) earlier this year in which Sacha Baron Cohen came spiraling down from the studio ceiling into the audience wearing wings and a G-string and landed in the position with his rear end smack dab in front of rapper Eminem's face. Eminem then got angry and he and his "posse" left the ceremony. The next day, there wasn't a channel that you could switch to that wasn't talking about it! And one thing was on everyone's mind: was it staged? The writers of the two-hour spectacle released that not only was it planned, it was rehearsed as well. And that got me wondering whether or not his then upcoming movie was legit in fooling innocent civilians and celebrities. And a later revealed lawsuit gave me a vindication. Richelle Olson sued Baron Cohen and NBC Universal on May 22nd, saying that "Brüno's" antics resulted in her disability. She says that a scene with the gay Austrian at a charity bingo game in Palmdale, California left her needing a wheelchair or cane to strut around. She sued for $25,000. The alleged part wasn't included in the movie.

In conclusion, Brüno was and will always remain a powerhouse of controversy. But should we get mad or just roll with the punches? I think that everyone is overreacting. The point of a comedy is to make you laugh, and that's exactly what Brüno did. The added debates just made it that much more hilarious.

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