Animal cruelty?At the opening night screening of Brüno at the Old Mill cinema no one walked out. Not the giggling groups of teenage boys, not those engaged in middle-aged man-dates, not the hand-holding couples, not even the lady who gasped, "Oh my god" at five-minute intervals. No, the entire audience sat stalwartly through the sexual equivalent of Saw V. The mechanical dildos, the swinging penis, the champagne bottle butt plug, the anal bleaching, it was all very well received.
I don't think we can discern whether the Bend community is inured to onscreen iniquity, jaded, or actually more liberal than previously thought. Yet, there were a handful of moments when the laughter disappeared, and the audience quieted to a nervous-coughing hush-and from these moments we can learn. There are some things that can still shock, that cannot be tolerated, and so instead of the article that we had in mind (Bend's Ten Biggest Walk-Out-of-Brüno Moments) here instead is... Bend's Six Biggest Though-We-Understand-We're-Watching-Brüno-We're-Not-OK-With-That Moments.
1. The souvenir severed foot of an African elephant retrieved from an airport luggage conveyor. The illegal procurement of animal limbs for novel umbrella stands is NOT okay with the people of Bend and will be met with a dire silence. An African baby arriving subsequently in a box marked "fragile," is, however, very funny. And, with "awws" everywhere, also quite cute. From this we presume Bend to be extremely environmentally friendly.
2. Eating carbs. Brüno eating dish after dish of pie in an attempt to commit "carbicide" is a difficult sight. As an outdoorsy, health-conscious bunch, the people of Bend made known their disapproval with an audible frown.
3. Crash dieting for six-month old babies. When the mother of the baby in question agreed to liposuction so her baby could take part in a Hollywood photo shoot there were gasps. Gasps loud enough to mask the following request that the baby be dressed as a Nazi.
4. The bad mouthing of women. When a 'heterosexuality coach' hoping to encourage Brüno from gay to straight started on a woman-disliking rant ("women are always complaining", "they don't stick to the point" etc.) a collective 'Harumph' launched into the cinema air. Bend doesn't have a cartoonishly misogynistic bone in its body, or at least not while sitting in an auditorium containing both sexes.
5. Gerbils intended for the colon cavity. The people of Bend are, again, nature lovers, and seemingly adore gerbils, and do not care to see them associated with a sexual act. Either that, or too much time has gone by since that Richard Gere urban legend did the rounds, and the audience was simply perplexed by the gerbils' appearance.
6. Parading off-screen friendships with smug uber-celebrities. When I said the people of Bend did not walk out, I lied. As this final scene rolled before the credits, in which Brüno sings endlessly with Bono, Elton John, Snoop Dogg, and Sting, people abruptly got up. Having spent the previous hour-and-a-half gathering our support with mind-blowing boldness, Sacha Baron Cohen then shied into cowardice and called on his celebrity friends for the finale, nearly ruining what is otherwise one of the funniest movies of all time.Brüno ★★★★✩