And they are officially not amused, according to a National Guard spokeswoman.
The AmStar 12 in Oxford will have a midnight showing tonight and a full run of the Bruno film next week. General Manager Chris Luker said the parts of the movie shot in Anniston played no part in the theater's decision to show it.
The movie features actor Sacha Baron Cohen, famous for his role in the 2006 film Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan. In the new film, Cohen plays Bruno, a flamboyant homosexual fashionista character created by Cohen in 2003 for his television show Da Ali G Show. In both the Bruno and Borat movies, Cohen approaches ordinary people in character without revealing his true identity, often filming them in humorous or uncomfortable situations.
Cohen and a film crew reportedly visited the academy at Anniston's Fort McClellan on Feb. 13 claiming they were from a German affiliate of a TV station. The school, which trains officer candidates from across the nation, is at the National Guard's training center at Fort McClellan.
The movie is rated R and contains several scenes that are likely inappropriate for family viewing, though most of the Anniston footage is tame.
Beyond what's in the trailers, the content of the footage featuring Anniston is not publicly known. Lt. Col. Cindy Bachus, state public affairs officer for the Alabama National Guard, said she has no intention of finding out.
"We believed this was someone who was there to see what it was like to be a soldier," Bachus said. "That was not the case. He had an ulterior motive for getting on post. Nobody found it amusing … we truly believed this was a German reporter."
Was she not even a little bit curious?
"No, not really," she said. "Because when someone deceives an organization like ours for personal gains, how can you promote that?"
Col. Chuck Keith, director of the McClellan Training Center, had a hard time containing his laughter when asked if he would see the film.
"Why, hell no, I won't be there," he said, adding later, "I've gone through that stuff in my mind since it happened. It still is a non-event for us. They came under false pretenses, fooled our public affairs office in Montgomery … went through their routine and ran like cowards. But at that time they had all the things they wanted to film."
He said he couldn't speak for trainees who may want to see the film. Bachus said if they go it's their own personal choice.
"We're still waiting on all the royalties," Keith said.