Bruno shmuno — Molly “Yoo-hoo” Goldberg in the house


Sacha Baron Cohen is sucking up plenty of media oxygen with the opening of "Bruno."

Naomi Pfefferman, of the L.A. Jewish Journal, gives thumbs up to the Jewish moments:

Universal Pictures’ highly anticipated mock documentary, “Brüno,” opens July 10, with a story line that is as hilarious as it is controversial. But whether Sacha Baron Cohen’s latest comic opus is perceived to be provocative or offensive, homophobic or passionately pro-tolerance, this saga of a gay fashionista who aspires to become the “biggest Austrian superstar since Hitler” has some of the most sidesplitting Jewish moments of any movie of the year.

Check out here Top 5.

Abe Novick has a lengthy piece in The Baltimore Jewish Times exploring Cohen’s place in the canon of Jewish comedians.

Writing in The New York Press, Armond White makes the case that Cohen’s latest betrays this tradition — and he a gives thumbs up to another Jewish flick opening this weekend:

Yet, Baron Cohen’s real mission is ridicule. Compared to the good-natured mid-20th-century comedy seen in Aviva Kempner’s new doc Yoo-Hoo, Mrs. Goldberg, Baron Cohen’s misuse of Jewish humor loses its time-honored humanity

Actress-writer Gertrude Berg’s legendary sitcom The Goldbergs (first a 1940s radio program, then a TV series that ran from 1949 to 1955) popularized the urban American Jewish mother—an archetype many Jewish sophisticates have been running from ever since. Kempner’s proud embrace of this pioneering show stands in perfect contrast to Sacha Baron Cohen’s current acclaim. Using comedy as a weapon of political bias differs from Gertrude Berg’s post-WII social advance. …

Unlike haimish Molly Goldberg, Bruno and Borat are comic jackasses; though not identified as Jewish, they horrifically traduce the empathy of the Jewish comic tradition.

Neither Bruno nor Borat offer an organized critique; staged and Punk’d scenes are loosely connected. Even a skit on celebrity baby-bartering turns into a satire on gay adoption that turns into a talk show parody no more revealing than a real TV talk show. The fallacy that Baron Cohen’s comedy is politically pertinent derives from its pandering to Lefty biases. … Baron Cohen (and his odious collaborator-director Larry Charles, who excreted the ridiculous Religulous) merely seek to polarize and capitalize. Baron Cohen knows what side his ass is buttered on.

Tablet’s Marissa Brostoff has more on Kempner’s new documentary:

Before there was Lucille Ball, there was Gertrude Berg. On the same network, in fact: Berg’s show, The Goldbergs, aired in primetime on CBS-TV when Ball’s antics were still confined to the network’s radio station. But, while Lucy is constantly in reruns, Berg—who, according to Aviva Kempner’s new documentary Yoo Hoo, Mrs. Goldberg, virtually invented the sitcom—is nowhere to be found.

“My whole m.o. is making films about under-known Jewish heroes,” Kempner said in an interview with Tablet. “In Partisans of Vilna, it’s about the Jews who fought back against the Nazis. In Hank Greenberg, it’s sort of the counterexample to the nebbishy Jewish hero.”

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