Rated R

Yes, Baron Cohen’s Bruno — ostensibly an Austrian fashion guru and TV personality — is an outrageous stereotype of homosexuality, but it’s equally apparent that the purpose of Bruno is not meant to mock gays but to tweak the nose of narrow-minded bigots. Baron Cohen’s daring and fearlessness as a cultural critic is in grand form here — much as it was in Borat. In this one, Bruno travels to Los Angeles after having been summarily dismissed from European fashion circles in search of fame and fortune in the New World. Once in the States, the model finds the natives as status-obsessed and shallow as he is. Perhaps the overarching theme of Bruno is this: Americans are a gullible lot who will believe almost anything — the more extreme the better, like say the desire of a flamboyantly gay Austrian supermodel to up his celebrity status by purchasing a small African child, and then once the deed is done, giving him a traditional African name — O.J. Yikes. While so many public figures are deliberately shocking and offensive because they want us to join them in being small and mean and petty and tribal — I’m thinking of the likes of Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, and Glenn Beck — Baron Cohen does the same thing but for the very opposite reasons. And that is a good thing, and a thing very much worth celebrating. Oh, and it’s also outrageously funny to watch, too.

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