Born to Runway

3 % body fat. 1 % brain activity. Oops, that was the boast of Ben Stiller in the film Zoolander, the one about the stupormodel with the cut-glass cheekbones and zero brain cells. This season's male stupormodel is Bruno, the (mock-doc? pseudo-doc? diet doc?) starring Sacha Baron Cohen (pictured) as the the Austrian coverboy who believes he was born to runway -- and comes to America to prove it.

The photo of Cohen makes me laugh. So does the movie poster, which carries the tagline: "Borat Was So 2006." So does "Bruno" 's subtitle: Delicious Journeys Through America For the Purpose of Making Heterosexual Males Visibly Uncomfortable in Presence of Gay Foreigner in a Mesh T-Shirt. Yet I wonder, as I frequently did during Zoolander,  is Bruno a satire of the fashion industry, of narcissism, of gay culture -- or an invitation to laugh at rather than with all of the above?

Movies about fashion models come in two flavors. One is a bitter cautionary tale about the dangerous depths of the industry's shallowness (see Darling, Gia, Mahogany  and Stardom.) The other is sweet confection about the covergirl who has intellectual or romantic interests not being served by her work (How to Marry a MillionaireFunny Face, and  The Model and the Marriage Broker.  Have I missed any titles? Your favorite fashion-model movie? Your favorite model-turned-actor? I loved Suzy Parker.

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