Sunday, August 30, 2009

Laughing till it hurt

In the entire cinema hall, I was laughing the loudest at the antics of Bruno. Was I trying to prove to the rest of the audience (just a handful of us today) that I "got it?" -- every single prank, every single awkward moment, and laughter was my best way of covering up the embarrassment?

I dunno. As a movie, "Bruno" is genuinely situationally and absurdly funny, but at the same time playing a caricature along with real people who won't see the joke, let alone play along with it, it felt like SB Cohen was trying too hard to get the laughs. My laughs. And I guess I kinda' felt bad for him, and I did pay for two movie tix to watch him in action, so I felt obligated.

The Cohen formula is to piss people off by making them encounter the things they revile the most. And surprisingly, these people still respond to the silly Bruno with more restraint than we'd give them credit for. They still try to salvage some dignity from the inimaginable situations they find themselves in with him, and as far as possible still try to treat him with some measure of respect.

What results is that "Bruno" has to go to great lengths to sacrifice his own dignity to get some kind of reaction that at times I don't know if I'm laughing at the reactions or at Bruno himself. Whichever it is, it is funny, I am laughing, but the humour is painful. It's one of those cases where someone has worked so hard at something that you feel bad if you don't reward the effort.

Oh my red face and aching ribs.

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