The first round in the battle between Sacha Baron Cohen and the MPAA rating board has resulted in an NC-17 rating for Brüno. The Wrap reports that the Cambridge-educated comic’s film was cited for its abundance of “sexual scenes.” Cohen’s character Brüno is a gay fashionista who enjoys flamboyantly waving his sexuality in hetero faces. Guess the MPAA didn’t like the smell. Here’s what got them steamed:
- Brüno appears to have anal sex with another man.
- Brüno sneaks naked into a hunter’s tent. We’re assuming “hunter’s tent” is not a euphemism.
The MPAA: men having sex with men is bad, Scary Movie is good. In the ratings board’s defense, Cohen’s comedy seems closer to the, er, bone because he inserts his fictional character into real-life situations. For example, another scene shows Brüno appearing on The Richard Bey Show, looking for a gay boyfriend to help him raise his black adopted child, O.J. The audience are unsympathetic, to say the least.
We haven’t heard the end of it. Borat went through a similar cycle of receiving an NC-17 rating and then making adjustments. Cohen is appealing the current ruling. He is also said to still be “finding the film,” meaning cutting different versions to see a) how they play with audiences looking for laughs and b) how they play with the MPAA. A spokesman said, “[T]he process is only at its inception.” A Universal exec, however, told The Wrap they would not consider putting an NC-17 Brüno into theatres.
The good news for Cohen is that all the advance controversial buzz is going to create plenty of anticipation for Brüno’s opening on July 10. Fans wanting a closer look at a “hunter’s tent” will just have to wait for the “unrated” DVD. Because while it’s bad for teenagers to watch filth for the price of a movie ticket, it’s okay to let them watch it when they pay $19.99 for the privilege.