The Film Experience‘s Nathaniel Rogers has posted two text-message reviews of Bruno, from a friend he presumably trusts. The first one called it “predictably hilarious …even more shocking and envelope-pushing than Borat and just as funny. But at the same time it’s no longer new, so it feels somewhat ‘safer’ [in that] you know what to expect. Still awesome, though. Gay stuff will keep it from doing Borat $. And I have no idea how they got an R rating.”
The followup: “My crowd was largely filled with gay tastemakers and VIPs (Ivanka Trump and her loudly-talking douchebag date were sitting near me), so perhaps the cringing and revulsion weren’t as pronounced/discomfiting as they would have been in a multiplex, but I couldn’t believe the sort of things Cohen got away with. Lots of penis and explicit (comic, obviously) gay sexuality.
“There’s an extended sequence early on that is so wildly over-the-top (the capper for me involved a bottle of champagne), that I almost think Sacha Baron Cohen included it as a warning/button-pusher (i.e., if this part doesn’t make people walk out of the theater, they should be fine for the rest of the movie).
“Like Borat, I know there’s been a bunch of talk about whether the satire of homophobia/homosexuality could be misconstrued as mocking of gays (thus validating homophobes), but it’s difficult to imagine too many audience members proud to see themselves in Cohen’s targets. The one who you start to feel bad for is Ron Paul (he looks like a senile grandpa being taunted/seduced)…until he’s filmed angrily calling Bruno ‘a queer.’ Lots of funny/broad/silly set-pieces, with intermittent bits that resonate/provoke – a short encounter Bruno has with the ‘God Hates Fags’ folks was a highlight for me.”