In his effort to prove how ragingly homophobic America is in Bruno, Sacha Baron Cohen has slim pickings-- most of the "real people" Bruno encounters are either nonplussed by him or just vaguely annoyed. But the most effective scene of the film by far is the last one, in which Bruno makes out with the man in the middle of a cage match, and the furious crowd throws beer, garbage and even chairs at the couple.
And, surprise surprise-- the scene wasn't faked, but it wasn't exactly spontaneous either. Newsweek went to Fort Smith, Arkansas to get the real story, where they learned of the schemes to get the crowd drunk, angry and even more homophobic than usual before the stunt began in earnest. It was a pretty simple process, actually.
1. Offer a cage match for a ridiculously cheap price.
2. Make people wait in line for 90 minutes.
3. Offer beer for $1 with the promise that it will only last a limited time, then keep the $1 beer flowing all night.
4. Hand out shirts that say "My ass is only for shitting."
5. Put two guys making out in the cage, and watch the fur fly.
Was it fair for the Fort Smith crowd to react with actual violence when they saw the gay makeout session? Obviously not. But Cohen and his production team provoked the crowd to the point they may as well have demanded to be attacked, which obviously is what they were going for all along. Surely they could have gotten an ignorant and angry response from the crowd without baiting them beforehand, but anything realistic isn't gonna sell tickets.
I was really frustrated by Bruno's pitiful attempts to document America as a hotbed of homophobia, primarily because there is so much homophobia out there that the movie doesn't tap into at all. The Newsweek article smartly interviews a gay couple living in Fort Smith, who describe attacks not dissimilar to the ones seen in the film. It's stories like that that earn outrage and shock, not a gay minstrel show put on in front of a crowd provoked to fight back.