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Bruno Movie Opening Reviews, A Round Up:

After months of hype, moviegoing audiences can finally be the judge of "Bruno."


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After months of hype, moviegoing audiences can finally be the judge of Bruno. But that hasn't stopped the critics from weighing in with their opinions. And just like some of the over-the-top stunts Sacha Baron Cohen pulled on his globetrotting publicity tour, reactions are mixed, to say the least.

USA Today gives the film three out of four stars. Claudia Puig says, "Just as he did in 'Borat,' Baron Cohen wields his guerilla-style comedy like a sword, slashing away at closed minds, ignorance, and sanctimony through the outrageous antics of a foolish persona... Where 'Borat' pushed the envelope of extreme behavior, 'Bruno' shreds it into smithereens... Baron Cohen is fearless in his pursuit of rowdy laughs."

Roger Moore of McClatchy-Tribune Information Services feels that "Bruno" pales in comparison to SBC's 2006 masterpiece: "'Borat' was such a hit that it's a struggle to find people gullible enough to not recognize the star... Few people worth mocking are fooled by the disguise anymore." Of Baron Cohen and director Larry Charles, he says, "They want to mock homophobia but do it by getting into people's faces with comical fetishism... Too often, Bruno feels like Borat's weak-wristed brother, too much of it just a gay cliché aimed straight at the American bigot belt." Moore gives the film a C.

Entertainment Weekly's Owen Gleiberman is kinder, grading it an A- and comparing SBC to Richard Pryor and Lenny Bruce: "Baron Cohen knows how to draw an audience into a conspiratorial relationship with him- and then make you squirm away... 'Bruno,' let's be honest, is not a film that behaves itself... You can't squeeze it into a tidy liberal box, because it's only too happy to flirt with the taboos and frat-house intolerances it's ridiculing... The entire film is in seriously questionable taste... Yet there's a vision at work in 'Bruno'- the movie is a toxic dart aimed at the spangly new heart of American hypocrisy... [SBC] never makes a plea for tolerance. He tosses a grenade for tolerance."

Ann Hornaday of the Washington Post really lowers the boom, predicting that the film "may count as the summer's biggest misfire... 'Bruno' seems fatally out of tune, with every staged encounter falling as flat as the protagonist's hot-ironed bob... Bruno is no Borat. His narcissism, combined with the fact that the scenes in "Bruno" are far more obviously staged than in the previous movie, give the entire enterprise a nasty and, worse, irrelevant tone... 'Bruno' settles for lazy laughs. With stakes this low, the question isn't what in the movie is real or fake. The question is, 'Who cares?'"

Roger Ebert reports in a three-and-a-half-star review: "The needle on my internal Laugh Meter went haywire, bouncing among hilarity, appreciation, shock, admiration, disgust, disbelief and appalled incredulity. Here is a film that is 82 minutes long and doesn't contain 30 boring seconds."

And that's just opening day, folks. You can expect the debate to rage on as audiences get to know "Bruno," now in theatres.

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