My Bruno review ran 11 days ago. Here are excerpts in recognition of opening day:

(1) “I don’t want to sound overly negative here. I did laugh several times during Bruno. I came out in a relatively okay mood, wasn’t pissed off. But a feeling that it didn’t really make it began to grow in the days that followed. I tried writing yesterday about Bruno but the review wouldn’t come, probably because I was torn between laughing and chortling at times and also realizing that the film has hostility and believability problems.”

(2) “The Bruno problem for me is that (a) the tread has worn down on the tires since Borat — a put-on comedy of this kind just doesn’t feel as out-there brash as it did three years ago, in part because it’s harder to believe that the encounters in the film aren’t staged or performed by the victims, (b) the humor is more than a bit cruel and misanthropic at times, and (c) Sacha Baron Cohen‘s Bruno character simply doesn’t work as well as the revolutionary Borat.”

(3) “Borat was funnier because it was at least faintly conceivable that a dorky moustachioed TV correspondent from a small Kazakhstan backwater could be that culturally clueless. But Bruno is no idiot — he’s from Vienna, knows the fashion world, knows the rules of the game. The joke is supposed to be that he’s so blinded by ego, arrogance, ambition and random sexual arousal that he doesn’t realize how offensive and irritating he is to everyone he meets. And that’s just not buyable.”

(4) “So what we’re left with is just watching SBC doing his best to put people on and make them squirm as best he can. I’m obviously gay, you’re perhaps a little uncomfortable with gay men, and so I’m going to up the ante more and more until that discomfort tips into some form of hostility (usually suppressed). Over and over and over. Because I’m convinced that you’re a yahoo of some kind, and the point of this film is to expose you as same and too bad if you don’t like it, Ugly American.”

(5) “Clips and promotions and put-ons are one thing, but when you sit down for a movie you expect a certain build-up of dramatic and emotional elements — you need to see characters and story threads start to take shape and transform and pay off in some way. Bruno never even tries to get off the ground in this sense.”

(6) “Laugh-out-loud amusing and ‘outrageous’ as it sometimes is, Bruno — oddly — isn’t all that funny. Certainly not in a convulsive sense. It’s basically a series of misanthropic ‘screw you’ jokes — 82 minutes worth of effete put-on gags, each one meant to provoke homophobic reactions to SBC’s flamboyantly gay, blonde-coiffed Austrian fashion reporter.”

(7) “Remember that moment in Mad Dog and Glory when Robert DeNiro‘s cop character tells Bill Murray‘s mafioso character (who does a little stand-up) that jokes don’t work as well when they’re ‘aimed out’ and that people tend to laugh more when they’re ‘aimed a little more in’ — i.e., at the teller?”