The ambush comedian Sacha Baron Cohen has duped a bunch of people again, this time into paying for the same movie twice.
The similarity of “BrA¬no” — crazy foreign guy invades America — to Baron Cohen's 2006 comedy hit “Borat” — crazy foreign guy invades America — isn't so strange. One of the oldest Hollywood truisms is that if it worked once it can work again.
In “BrA¬no” Baron Cohen is the host of an Austrian fashion TV program who gets thrown aus after he disrupts a runway show. Hoping to reboot his career, BrA¬no travels to Hollywood with an obsequious assistant, trying a variety of plans that instead demonstrate that BrA¬no is a moron.
The movie's funniest aspect was the same in “Borat”: the innocent abroad, a well-meaning simpleton who can't help doing the wrong thing. There's a lengthy failed attempt to set up former presidential candidate Rep. Ron Paul for a sex tape, with a staid interview turning into candles, champagne and, predictably, the congressman's hasty exit. BrA¬no, left behind in failure, sighs: “I couldn't even seduce RuPaul.”
The idiot act isn't always that ingenious. BrA¬no, moderating a meeting between Palestinian and Israeli representatives, confuses Hamas with hummus. More tedious, however, is the movie's greater half, a litany of less-imaginative body humor.
“BrA¬no” is relentlessly obscene, obvious and sloppy, with BrA¬no on occasion accidentally slipping into Baron Cohen's British gangsta persona, Ali G. As of this writing, the cumulative score from Yahoo viewers had fallen beneath that of the critics. It seems you can fool some Americans some of the time, but you'd better think of something different after that. (R) 88 min. HHIII S