Josh points out that Sacha Baron Cohen is being held to an unfair standard in many reviews of Brüno: Why is a comedian obligated to perform social commentary? The goal of Brüno is not to end homophobia, it’s to be funny.
The fact is that Cohen has never really been a social commentator: Even his work as Borat never had the exaggerated social implications that some people claimed. The people featured in the film were generally marginal, or their prejudices came as no surprise. What does come as a surprise, and is more often mined for laughs by Cohen, is tolerance and social manners.
In Brüno, this is even more obvious. The jokes in the film don’t often come from highlighting homophobia, but from what exactly Cohen can get away with. Can he talk on the phone while he’s getting his anus bleached? Yes. Can he get Paula Abdul to sit on a Mexican worker posing as furniture? Yes. Can he show his penis to a focus group, and then make it talk? Yes. Can he pretend to fellate a ghost in front of a psychic? Yes. Continue reading »