With Brüno it is time to acknowledge the innovation and genius of Sacha Baron Cohen. What he is about to do with film comedy is arguably only surpassed by what Charlie Chaplin did with the medium almost a hundred years ago. Brüno is playful, offensive, intelligent, coarse, annoying and important in perfect dosages.
Although we have all been aware of the British comedian's talent for some while, I was not completely convinced by his former film, Borat. It stepped on too many toes without relevance and flair. This time he gets it right. The comedic timing, the clever and well-directed satire, the formal innovation; it's all brilliant. But the main reason why Baron Cohen will be remembered alongside the greatest comedians in history, is for the way he has redefined the film comedy through his crossover of fact and fiction, of staging and spontaneous realism. In this respect Baron Cohen owes a lot to Andy Kaufman, as he has utilized and developed Kaufman's principle of deceiving one audience in order to amuse another (the final segment is fantastic in this respect). The difference is that Baron Cohen does this using the film medium and on a more macro-sized level. As Kaufman, Baron Cohen challenges good taste and at times provokes unnecessarily, but there are few of the people mocked in Brüno who don't deserve what's coming.
Since his former film, Baron Cohen has also learned how to stop. As such, he has refined his bad taste and ruthlessness. There are one or two scenes which leaves a bad aftertaste, but Brüno is less specifically and more generically offensive, and all the while accompanies its antics with laugh after laugh after laugh. Baron Cohen has now elevated himself into one of the most important filmmakers around - and easily the most innovative film comedian.