Summer Controversy Watch: After Brüno, What’s Next?

If a slightly disappointing opening weekend wasn’t bad enough for Brüno, now it looks like even the controversy about Sacha

If a slightly disappointing opening weekend wasn’t bad enough for Brüno, now it looks like even the controversy about Sacha Baron Cohen’s latest prank is smaller than anticipated. As The Hollywood Reporter noted yesterday, the only lawsuit pending against Mr. Cohen—a ridiculous one involving charity bingo and brain bleeds—has been dropped. And while GLAAD is still up in arms about the homophobic messages that the film is sending, their main beef seems to be with the audiences who won’t get such cutting satire. Boring! We want some more ire raised! If Brüno isn’t the controversy magnet of summer ’09, then what will be? Naturally, we’ve got some ideas…

The Ugly Truth

Possible controversy: Meg Ryan sues Katherine Heigl for stealing her signature bit: The restaurant orgasm.

Chances of this happening: 21%. Besides the fact that Ms. Ryan doesn’t really have a case (her’s was fake, Ms. Heigl’s is, embarrassingly enough, “real”), we actually don’t think this kind of lawsuit would even be allowed. If it were, every romantic comedy ever would probably be trying to take a piece out of The Ugly Truth.

G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra

Possible controversy: Director Stephen Sommers demands that his name be removed from the credits.

Chances of this happening: 67%. How do you know G.I. Joe is one of the worst movies ever, sight unseen? Well, there is that trailer, which is laughable in all the wrong ways; but more pointedly, there was the whole rumor about how Mr. Sommers was fired from the film because it wasn’t good. Think about that for a second: Paramount hired Stephen Sommers (The Mummy, Van Helsing) and then got upset when he gave them a bad movie. Also, water is wet. If we were Mr. Sommers, we’d demand our name removed out of spite. There can be no doubt that he delivered what he was paid for.

Inglourious Basterds

Possible controversy: Irate UFC fans challenge director Quentin Tarantino to a cage fight because of misleading ads.

Chances of this happening: 78%. Having read the script for Mr. Tarantino’s blood-soaked World War II revenge film, we can attest that it’s much more talky than the (admittedly) kick ass new trailer would lead viewers to believe. Of course, don’t tell The Weinstein Company’s marketing department that, as they gave a full push to Inglourious Basterds during the UFC 100 over the weekend. The testosterone heavy crowd might love a two-minute trailer showcasing the film’s violence, but what happens when they go buy a ticket and spend the first twenty-two minutes reading subtitles? Brock Lesnar is not going to be happy with that.

Summer Controversy Watch: After Brüno, What’s Next?