Bob Unruh joined WND in 2006 after nearly three decades with the Associated Press, as well as several Upper Midwest newspapers, where he covered everything from legislative battles and sports to tornadoes and homicidal survivalists. He is also a photographer whose scenic work has been used commercially.More ↓Less ↑
‘Bruno’ actor Sasha Baron Cohen
Carrying a bag of excrement to a dinner table may fit the community standards of “Borat” actor Sasha Baron Cohen in his new “Bruno” production, but not most of America, according to Movieguide, the Christian Film & Television Commission ministry’s family guide to movies and entertainment.
Organization founder Ted Baehr today announced the group has written local government officials across the nation asking them to assess the content of the movie and consider restricting screenings, which are scheduled to begin Friday.
In the letter, Movieguide asks authorities to seek an injunction pending a local review of the movie to determine whether it fits the “community standards” for the individual cities and towns – as defined by the U.S. Supreme Court in rulings on obscenity and pornography.
The court has ruled those standards are to be used to legally determine pornography and obscenity.
Baehr, publisher of Movieguide and chairman of the Christian Film & Television Commission, told WND the movie is so bad it cannot even be described accurately in print.
“This movie reportedly has been cut to get an R rating,” he said, “but it apparently still contains explicit nudity, graphic sex scenes, extremely offensive jokes and scenes mocking Jews. Many children sneak into R-rated movies or get tickets from some sick adult who finds it humorous to flood an impressionable child’s mind with obscene content.
“Supreme Court rulings on obscenity allow local, state and federal governments to ban such movies like ‘Brüno’ or at least restrict them to 17 and over regardless of adult accompaniment,” Baehr said.
Dr. Ted Baehr (photo: Movieguide)
“Local government agencies have a duty to protect vulnerable children and teenagers from this kind of material,” he said.
WND is not providing a link to the movie’s website because of the explicit content.
But Baehr confirmed the images include homosexual sodomy, sadomasochism, a fully nude woman whipping the “Bruno” character, lengthy close-up images of a nude man and a man with a champagne bottle in his rectum.
The letter intended for city managers and local district attorneys, reports: “Our organization has just viewed the upcoming ‘R-rated’ movie ‘Brüno,’ which is scheduled to come out in local movie theaters Friday, July 10.
“Based on our screening of it, and the opinion of many other critics, BRÜNO is the most vile, perverse movie ever made by a mainstream movie studio. This disgusting, abhorrent movie contains (among other things) extremely graphic scenes of heterosexual and homosexual sex acts, explicit scenes and extended close-ups of full male and full female nudity, an extended scene of a totally nude heterosexual woman repeatedly whipping a homosexual man in his bikini briefs, partial nude scenes (including full rear male nudity) where body parts are partially covered up with black bars placed in strategic places, obscenely graphic verbal descriptions of perverse sex acts in dialogue and conversations with real people, and images of a male black baby from Africa in a hot tub with white adults who are clearly interested in doing some kind of sex acts with one another.”
He tells those managers and district attorneys, “Studies have shown conclusively that movies like this will harm the psychological development of children and teenagers of all ages. Other studies have shown that almost half of all movie theaters do not card underage children who try to get tickets to such vile R-rated movies as BRÜNO by themselves, unaccompanied by adults.
“The physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well being of your children and grandchildren is at stake!!!”
To city managers, the organization says, “We formally ask your city council to file an injunction against the showing of this movie in your city, or at least restrict the film to 17 and over regardless of adult accompaniment. To determine whether this movie fits the community standards of your locality, as legally defined by the United States Supreme Court, you may have to require your local movie theaters to screen the movie ahead of time for the council, or a duly designated committee of the council, to determine what formal action to take regarding ‘Brüno.’”
The movie also mocks Christians, blacks, hunters, southerners and rednecks, he said.
The movie has been raising eyebrows since before its scheduled release in May – it was delayed until this month. According to Bild, Emil Brix, named Austria’s ambassador to Britain, has called for a boycott because of the movie’s content.
Among the jokes that raised offense were Cohen’s statement he wants to become the most famous Austrian “since Hitler.” He also makes fun of Josef Fritzl, who was accused of repeatedly raping his daughter while keeping her prisoner in his basement for 24 years.
Even AP movie critic Christy Lemire wrote, “Bruno is a one-joke character in a one-joke movie, and it’s a joke Baron Cohen beats into the ground. He’s a flamboyantly gay Austrian fashion correspondent who repeatedly shocks people with his flamboyant gayness. The end. In small doses – on the TV show and at the film’s high-energy start – he can be a hoot. Here, big laughs come intermittently, and the longer ‘Bruno’ drags on, the more apparent it becomes that there’s nothing to him.
“He’s as vapid as the celebrity culture he’s stridently spoofing,” Lemire continued.
And from Entertainment Weekly is the advice that one’s feeling about the movie “probably depends on your feelings about full frontal nudity.”
The News Shopper suggested that perhaps “mimed blow jobs” might not be for everyone.
Baehr noted the movie also ridicules the 70 percent of black voters in California who voted last year to protect traditional marriage and then finishes with a song about “everyone getting along.”
Also featured in a swingers party – revealed in full detail – as well as a lengthy scene with Bruno simulating oral sex, he said.
Baehr told WND that even secular reviewers with whom he has regular contact have said the movie goes “beyond what they can imagine.”
“It’s all shock value,” Baehr said. “This is his point of view toward life: extremely materialistic, extremely obscene, very blasphemous, anti-black, anti-almost every good thing.
“He’s either related to Lucifer or working for him,” Baehr said.
According to a report in the Birmingham News, Cohen even fabricated a “counseling session” with a Christian pastor in which the actor asks the minister, “Are you hitting on me?”
Another Birmingham minister was victimized in Cohen’s previous film, “Borat.”
The Birmingham News reported Mountain Brook Presbyterian Church Pastor Cary Speaker and his wife, Sally, were included in “Borat.”
The newspaper said they were in a scene shot at Magnolia Springs Manor in Helena where Borat is coached by Birmingham etiquette consultant Cindy Streit.
In that episode, Cohen brings to the table at a dinner party a bag of excrement.