Over at the Curator, Alisa Harris tries to figure out why she was revulsed more by Bruno than by other R-rated “offensive” comedies:
The difference is that while those other movies humanize the world’s weirdos, Sacha Baron Cohen’s humor dehumanizes people – and not just a “type” of person but a real person who sits down trusting that the interviewer will show him as he is. Cohen doesn’t just expose prejudice but manipulates it, twisting real three-dimensional people into ugly, one-dimensional caricatures. Take the climactic scene, where he whips people up into a gleeful hatred and then shoves what they hate in their faces, as the camera zooms in on every shade of horror. Of course the prejudice and the hate is already there, and yes, it’s ugly. But the way he teases it out of people – with no thought to their humanity and no grace for their weaknesses – dehumanizes them.