THE WRAP: Universal’s ”Bruno,” the widely anticipated Sacha Baron Cohen docu-comedy opening in July, has been slapped with an NC-17 rating on its first submission to the Motion Picture Association of America because of numerous sexual scenes that the ratings board considers over the line, according to the studio releasing the film. Among the objectionable scenes is one in which Bruno — a gay Austrian fashionista played by Baron Cohen — appears to have anal sex with a man on camera. In another, the actor goes on a hunting trip and sneaks naked into the tent of one of the fellow hunters, an unsuspecting non-actor. […] Baron Cohen is accustomed to pushing boundaries. In his last hit film, “Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan,” the writer and actor orchestrated outrageous real-life situations that challenged anti-Semitic and other stereotypes. With “Bruno,” Baron Cohen apparently goes even further, drawing a cutting comic edge that challenges homophobia and racism by embracing both. His method is a kind of cinema verite, drawing unsuspecting bystanders into outrageous situations, or provoking them to say outrageous things, and orchestrating NC-17 rated situations. Individuals close to the film say that Baron Cohen, Bruno’s writer and star, is “experimenting” and still “finding the film,” and tested two different versions with audiences in the past week. Both screenings, they said, were very successful. But Cohen needs to deliver an R-rated film to Universal, which will not consider releasing an NC-17 “Bruno,” according to an executive there. MORE

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