‘Bruno’ doesn’t help gays

The movie is intended to satirize homophobia, but too often it misses the mark.
By Rashad Robinson – July 12, 2009

It’s not that we don’t get it. The makers of the film “Bruno,” Sacha Baron Cohen’s just-released follow-up to “Borat,” have said that they intend to satirize and expose homophobia. But even when filmmakers have the best of intentions, there can be a disconnect between the concept and the execution. In “Bruno,” the satire often loses sight of the way gay people are treated in real life.

Consider a different movie, “I Love You, Man,” in which Paul Rudd’s character, Peter, deflects a pass from another man. Peter handles the situation with grace, modeling how an adult would and should react to crossed signals. But the audience in the theater often had a very loud and very different reaction: “Ewwwww.”

I’ve seen a rough cut and the final cut of “Bruno.” If some people get icked out over an innocent kiss, imagine the reactions to a movie that is loaded with stereotypes, toilet humor and a steady stream of gross-out gags. Yes, some of this is aimed at mocking anti-gay attitudes — and the film often hits its mark. But far too much of it, intentionally or not, ends up hitting gay people instead.