* * * *
Bruno's no Borat, but will still shock you into laughter.
After the ridiculous outfits, the publicity stunts, teasers, trailers and leaked clips, you might think you've already seen everything
has to offer. Or at least the funniest bits. Thankfully, if there's one thing Sacha Baron Cohen does better than send up the American public, it's promote a film - teasing and tempting audiences into a theatre without spoiling the surprise.
Yes, you will recognise many of the outfits and several of Bruno's quips but that won't stop you from sinking into your seat as you laugh that cringing, tortured laugh first elicited by Borat, three years ago.
. Where the Kazakhstani reporter was outrageous-yet-endearing, Bruno is largely unlikeable, relying solely on shock factor for entertainment. Several of his one-liners fall flat as viewers don't like him enough to offer a token giggle.
But you can't help but laugh - and gawp - at his more outrageous stunts and the sheer bravado of Baron Cohen. Like when he goes to "Middle Earth" (the Middle East) to meet with the head of a Lebanese terror cell and proceeds to insult Osama Bin Laden.
Bruno also proves the world may just be getting smarter - or at least wary of camera-wielding foreigners - as several of his interview subjects walk out on him before making total idiots of themselves.
And if you look closely, even Baron Cohen cracks a smile in places as he tries hard to sell the ridiculous character. Of course, plenty of people are still caught out by the gay Austrian fashionista - from socialites to swingers, talk show hosts to cage fighting fans.
Add to that a spectacular celebrity-studded finale and you have a very successful, if not quite as original, follow up to one of the funniest films of this century.
Much like its predecessor,
is not a film you will come back to again and again. Once is just plenty.
Sacha Baron Cohen, Gustaf Hammarsten
R16 (Offensive Language, Sexual References & Other Content That May Offend)