Sacha Baron Cohen’s “Bruno” given an NC-17 rating

Sacha Baron Cohen

Sacha Baron Cohen’s latest movie Bruno has been given an NC-17 rating by the Motion Picture Association of America. If the movie isn’t edited enough to be granted an R rating by July when it is scheduled to hit theaters, Universal may not agree to release it at all. The first time Sacha’s last movie, Borat, was viewed by the MPAA, it too received an NC-17 rating, but they edited it down to get the coveted R.

Reasons for the rating include explicit photos of Sacha and other naked men while a baby is nearby; a child being asked to dress as a Nazi and shove someone into an oven for a movie; and Sacha naming a black baby a “traditional African name” – O.J. – and calling him a “dick magnet.” Seems like a deserved NC-17.

Baron Cohen is accustomed to pushing boundaries. In his last hit film, “Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan,” the writer and actor orchestrated outrageous real-life situations that challenged anti-Semitic and other stereotypes.

With “Bruno,” Baron Cohen apparently goes even further, drawing a cutting comic edge that challenges homophobia and racism by embracing both. His method is a kind of cinema verite, drawing unsuspecting bystanders into outrageous situations, or provoking them to say outrageous things, and orchestrating NC-17 rated situations.

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. Both screenings, they said, were very successful.

But Cohen needs to deliver an R-rated film to Universal, which will not consider releasing an NC-17 “Bruno,” according to an executive there.

The difference between an R and an NC-17 in terms of financial reward is vast. “Borat,” which cost a piddling $18 million to make, took in $261 million in worldwide box office. Universal paid $42 million for the English-language rights to “Bruno,” but will spend far more than that in marketing the film. Major Hollywood studios almost never release films with NC-17 ratings.

[From The Wrap]

We have come to expect little else from Sacha Baron Cohen. While Borat was incredibly offensive and I enjoyed it even though my gut said that I shouldn’t, the monetary and popular success of the film has given him permission to create an even more ridiculous movie. No doubt it will be panned by critics but loved by audiences. One of the best parts of his movies is that they are mockumentary-style, giving us glimpses into real life people. In Bruno, he convinces one stage mother to get her infant daughter to lose 7 pounds for a part. The fact that it’s a real woman, not an actress, makes it even worse.

Personally, I think he was at his best in Talladega Nights where he plays the French race car driver. His part was over-the-top, but he didn’t feel the need to wrestle with a naked obese man or take nude pictures with a baby to get laughs.

Here’s Sacha with Isla Fisher at the “Confessions of a Shopaholic” premiere after-party on February 5th. Images thanks to Fame Pictures .

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9 Responses to “Sacha Baron Cohen’s “Bruno” given an NC-17 rating”

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  1. becca says:

    Oooo, I hope they edit it (perhaps take out the baby dressed as a nazi putting the other baby in a makeshift oven? I’d like to see that out). I heard the movie pretty much slams Hollywood and our consumerist pop culture (which I’m supposedly buying into by typing at this site, lol).

  2. becca says:

    …why is my comment in moderation? Meh. Well, I do hope they edit out the really really bad stuff.

  3. neelyo says:

    I thought I would hate Borat and I think I laughed louder than anyone else. I think he’s hilarious and provocative and I’ll go see it no matter what the rating.

  4. Hieronymus Grexx says:

    Yay, more provocative comedy from an idiot who can’t tell a joke but sure can shock the heck of people.

  5. Ron says:

    I find Sasha interesting. Everyone made such a thing about how stupid the people in Borat looked. The thing that struck me was how nice everyone was to him and tried to help him along his way, even when he got offensive. So what I took away from Borat was how kind and welcoming most Americans were. It’s all in how you look at things. I love those who are provocatuers. And Pamella gets snaps–that was the funniest part of the whole movie.

  6. Frenchie says:

    He does what he does, in a way it’s interesting. But I never understood what Isla is doing with him.

  7. HashBrowns says:

    Isla is with Sacha because he’s quite handsome when he’s not done up to look like a fool and he has this incredibly sexy accent…very posh, gentle, lilting kind of English accent.

    And he’s very intelligent. Watching his interviews are fascinating because you wouldn’t think that someone who comes up with characters like Ali G, Borat and Bruno would be particularly smart, but I guess you’d have to be in order to find the nuances of characters like that and make them real but at the same time over-the-top.

  8. Zoe (The Other One) says:

    Ah it’s fine to hack teenage girls into a screaming bloody pulp but show anything that might challenge public conception of right and wrong and it gets rated NC17 – what utter twaddle.

    In related news; I have just returned from seeing Watchmen and was upset (tho not surprised) that the censors had removed every single bit of Billy Crudup’s BBP (big blue peen) and the accompanying dialogue along with it – of course the graphic arm breaking and leg snapping is fine and dandy so the censors left that stuff in.

    Makes perfect sense non?

  9. Bodhi says:

    Sacha is a true satirist. He points out serious flaws in our global society & throws them in our face. I was massively offended by parts of Borat, but I think that people really need to be exposed to the serious & unfunny prejudices that loads of people hold.