Sacha Baron Cohen's "Bruno" gets an NC-17

by Eric Melin on March 30, 2009

in Blogs

bruno in wichita airportThis shouldn’t surprise anyone who’s familiar with Sacha Baron Cohen‘s work, but his newest movie “Bruno,” scheduled for release on July 10, has just received an NC-17 from its the ratings board.

It’s not uncommon, actually, for filmmakers to submit a first cut that is way raunchier than anything they actually hope to get a way with. Trey Parker, Matt Stone, and Kevin Smith do it all the time. The hope is, that after the board goes back and forth with the film asking the director to snip a little penis here or a poop joke there, that the filmmaker will end up with something that’s still pretty raunchy. Plus, we all know that sometimes it’s way funnier for something to be suggested rather than actually seen on camera. (That said, I’m not sure if Cohen’s Austrian fashionista character would agree.)

Following “Borat,” of course, expectations for “Bruno” (with the same kind of fictional-character-in-the-real-world humor) are high for Universal. It’s the third and last character from Cohen’s TV show “Da Ali G Show” to be adapted for the big screen, although “Borat” was the first time that Cohen figured out exactly how to present one of his characters in a movie successfully. “Ali G Indahouse” featured way more actors and scripted situations (Although “Borat” was scripted a lot more than people would think, and it nabbed an Oscar nomination!) and was not nearly as successful as “Borat.”

bruno on stageAccording to The Wrap, “Individuals close to the film say that Baron Cohen, Bruno’s writer and star, is ‘experimenting’ and still ‘finding the film,’ and tested two different versions with audiences in the past week.”

This isn’t the first post we’ve had about “Bruno.” Last June in Arkansas, Cohen lured thousands of people to a Blue Collar Brawlin’ event that promised one-dollar beer, “hot chicks” and “hardcore fights,” but ended with two male wrestlers “tearing each other’s clothes off and, while in underwear, kissing down their opponent’s chest.”

It must be very frustrating and nearly impossible to be able to do his kind humor in public this immediate-communications age. Below is a clip of Cohen in character trying to get some footage at a demonstration. This camera was shooting something else, but when some guy recognizes Cohen and starts yelling out, “It’s Bruno It’s Bruno,” Cohen stops acting immediately and heads for the hills. I hate even posting stuff like this because I don’t want to spoil the movie, but this clip doesn’t give anything away since Cohen and Co. probably couldn’t even use it for the movie. Anyway, it just gives me more respect for him knowing that he has to write a script like everybody else and then jump through all these hoops just to get it filmed. And some actors whine about closed sets. Ha!

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Eric is the Editor-in-Chief of and writes the Screen Stealers column for The Pitch. He’s President of the KCFCC, and drummer for The Dead Girls and Ultimate Fakebook. He is also Air Guitar World Champion Mean Melin. Eric goes to 11. Follow him at:

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