Sunday, July 12

Not That There's Anything Wrong With That

"Not that there's anything wrong with that," howls Jerry, rebutting an NYU student's belief that he is in a loving gay relationship with George. "No, of course not... My father's gay," proclaims the latter. One of America's most-spectated television sitcoms - Seinfeld - had just prided the normalcy of homosexuality one step further in the name of egalitarianism. Yet for all that, despite seven million Britons voting for a gay winner of Big Brother, and even with terrestrial telly hustling out the odd queer chat host every other primetime, it only takes a wee gander at California's bewildering Proposition 8 to realise homophobia is still alive. And in all its downtrodden, oppressed and sickly nature to boot. Some might say such cluelessness'll never melt away. But if there's anything else to assist in vanishing the ignorance and opening the door for closeted teens and the fully grown - it's Brüno.

According to early US box office reports, Sacha Baron Cohen's latest character movie has taken $30.4 million in its debut weekend. So somebody will have learned something, surely. Much like Borat acquainted with racism and bigotry, Brüno is not only a very, very, very funny comedy; It's a lesson to be yourself, be tolerant of others and to not take life too seriously. Sure, you'll get such scripture from about ten minutes of Sesame Street, but Cohen has done this via the slightly more adult extremities of homosexuality. Just because US presidential 'candidate' Ron Paul refused to spend the night with the gay Austrian fashionista, it doesn't mean he's homophobic. But the 'God Hates Fags' sign-bearers, the martial artist trained in punting away dildos and the trio of Southern hunters who passed up on naming the Sex And The City cast - that denounced a cold, unassertive society jammed with unhealthy subjection.

What with said-Seinfeld/said-Borat/Curb/Entourage helmer Larry Charles governing proceedings, it's fucking hilarious too. Picking out the wittiest moment is like coercing Angelina Jolie to choose her next toddler. But the Harrison Ford 'interview', the African gayby, the porn swingers night collaboration - all utter comedy gold. And on top of its great significance to civilisation as we know it and letting alone the knee-slapping satire, is Cohen's/Charles's seemingly world-weary take on celebrity philosophy.

Fellow clueful native Ricky Gervais has blasted the matter of reality TV many a moment - heck, The Office's David Brent was born out of regular person's desire to be a star. As is Brüno. Evidently talentless, he just wants to be famous for the sake of being famous. And that drive carries throughout the entire film, of which by the end, he is. But not down to the African baby, his 'celebrity' talkshow series or by attempting to turn straight. Brüno became a big name by being himself, coming out in front of herds of dogmatistic idiots by the means of making love to his assistant Lutz in the middle of a wrestling cage.

Actually, that last scene is Cohen's genius wrapped up in a ball. Jovial humour = Brüno and Lutz getting it on in ring. Social importance = Uninformed schmucks venting homophobic abuse exposed. The message = Brüno's outing broods on the emanation of self-assurance. Ahhhh, just perfect.

So if that's Ali G, Borat and Brüno wrapped up for good, where next for one of the finest comics of our time? Well, whatever path Cohen chooses, he's already given about as much as to humankind as any politician. Probably.