Brüno is a 2009 mockumentary comedy film directed by Larry Charles and starring Sacha Baron Cohen, who produced, co-wrote, and played the gay Austrian fashion journalist Brüno. It is the third film based on one of Cohen’s characters from Da Ali G Show, following Ali G Indahouse and Borat. The film was released on July 10, 2009 to mostly positive reviews from critics.
An alternative title for the film is Brüno: Delicious Journeys Through America for the Purpose of Making Heterosexual Males Visibly Uncomfortable in the Presence of a Gay Foreigner in a Mesh T-Shirt. It was initially a mock title proposed by Hollywood news and gossip blog Defamer and mistakenly reported as genuine by a number of sources of film information, including MovieTome, where it was still being used in the search results as late as 2011, the Daily Star, The Irish Times, The Boston Globe, and (although no longer) the Internet Movie Database.
Gay Austrian fashion reporter Brüno Gehard is fired from his own television show, Funkyzeit mit Brüno (Funkytime with Brüno) after disrupting a Milan Fashion Week catwalk (whose audience included Paul McCartney), and his lover Diesel leaves him for another man. Accompanied by his assistant’s assistant, Lutz Schulz, he travels to the United States to become “the biggest Austrian superstar since Hitler“.
Brüno unsuccessfully attempts an acting career as an extra on NBC‘s Medium. He then interviews Paula Abdul, using “Mexican chair-people” in place of furniture (Abdul goes along with everything, explaining how she aspires to help people, until a naked man, adorned with sushi, is wheeled into the room). He then produces a celebrity interview pilot, showing him dancing erotically, criticizing Jamie Lynn Spears‘ fetus with reality TV star Brittny Gastineau, unsuccessfully attempting to “interview” actor Harrison Ford, and closing with a close-up of his penis being swung around by pelvic gyrations. A focus group reviewing the pilot hate it, calling it “worse than cancer”. Brüno then decides to make a sex tape, thus he then interviews Ron Paul, claiming to have mistaken him for drag queen RuPaul. While waiting in a hotel room with Paul, Brüno flirts with him before undressing, causing Paul to leave angrily and call him “queerer than the blazes”.
Brüno consults a spiritualist to contact the deceased Rob Pilatus of Milli Vanilli (a former lover) for advice, miming various sex acts on the invisible “Pilatus”. He consults charity PR consultants Nicole and Suzanne DeFosset to select a world problem to maximize his fame, choosing the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. He flies to Jerusalem to interview former Mossad agent Yossi Alpher and Palestinian politician Ghassan Khatib and confuses hummus and Hamas. In an interview with Israeli and Palestinian professors he sings his own “Dove of Peace” while cajoling the two to caress each other’s hands. He also meets with Ayman Abu Aita, a “terrorist group leader, Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades” in a Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon, where he hopes to be kidnapped. Brüno insults Abu Aita’s hair then says that “King Osama” looks like a dirty wizard or a homeless Santa Claus. Abu Aita’s translator orders Brüno to leave. He stops off in Nairobi for “a little bit of shopping”.
Brüno interviews parents of child models, asking if their toddlers would be ready to lose weight, undergo liposuction, operate “antiquated heavy machinery” or “amateur science”, or dress in Nazi uniforms. On a talk show hosted by Richard Bey, he shows the African American audience a baby he named O.J., whom he acquired in Africa by “swapping him” for a U2 Product Red iPod. He shows photographs of the boy covered with bees, on a crucifix and in a Jacuzzi next to male adults in a 69 position. The audience is appalled and social services take the baby from Brüno, driving him to depression. He goes to a diner to gorge on high-carb junk food. Lutz carries him back to a hotel room. After a night of sex, they awake to find themselves trapped in a bondage mechanism, unable to find the key. They call a hotel engineer for help and are asked to leave. After accosting a group of anti-gay protesters from the Westboro Baptist Church while still in bondage gear and boarding a bus, Brüno and Lutz remove their equipment at Madison County Office of Alternative Sentencing and Release in Huntsville, Alabama. After being arrested, Lutz says he loves Brüno, but Brüno tells him he does not love him, having been influenced by “carb goggles“. Lutz leaves Brüno.
After realizing the biggest names in Hollywood are straight (citing Tom Cruise, Kevin Spacey, and John Travolta), Brüno consults two gay converters to help him become heterosexual. He attempts other “masculine” activities, such as learning karate, joining the National Guard, going hunting in Alabama, and attending a swingers party, during which he is whipped by a dominatrix.
Eight months later, a now-heterosexual Brüno, under the alias “Straight Dave”, hosts a cage-fight match in Arkansas, “Straight Dave’s Man Slammin’ Maxout”. Lutz appears at the event and calls Brüno a “faggot“. The two fight, only to rekindle their love, making out and stripping in front of shocked spectators who throw objects into the cage. The clip gets international press, and the now-famous Brüno attempts to marry Lutz, getting O.J. back in exchange for a MacBook Pro. At Abbey Road Studios Brüno records a charity song, “Dove of Peace”, featuring Bono, Elton John (seated at a piano on a Mexican “chair-person”), Chris Martin, Snoop Dogg, Sting, and Slash.