Is America ready for Bruno?

Jul 10, 2009 at 2:09 p.m. ET

Bruno has landed. Sasha Baron Cohen's follow up to the monster hit Borat premieres in theaters nationwide today. If his previous film shocked its way to blockbuster status, Bruno could make Borat seem like a trip to Disneyland.

Cohen lives to shock. Anyone who has seen his classic Da Ali G Show is intimately familiar with not only Borat and Bruno, but also the titular character – Ali G. Sasha’s brand of humor has always been a love it or leave it piece of entertainment hilarity.

Sasha Baron Cohen is Bruno, out in theaters July 10

Considering the level of discourse in this country over gay marriage, it is a wonder that Bruno has not raised more of a controversy. His gay Austrian fashion expert is hardly mild in his demeanor.

Is it that America is ready for Bruno? Are audiences so accustomed to gay characters on their television screens and movies (Brokeback Mountain earned $83 million at the box office)?

Or, is a hybrid of two facts: yes, the first assumption is true. Plus, it has to do with Cohen’s shock value. Since Borat, the idea of this man that we know as an actor pulling the wool over people’s eyes is not so shocking. Sure, in Bruno he makes out with another man in the ring at an Ultimate Fighting Championship as the crowd practically riots. And then there’s the adopting a baby from Africa and naming him OJ. The scene on the Today with Richard Bey is beyond hilarity.

Audiences will line up for Bruno. Universal’s marketing campaign has been masterful. Splash publicity such as Cohen’s drop-in on Eminem at the MTV Movie Awards also does not hurt.

Sasha Baron Cohen is nothing if not brilliant at creating characters that strike at the heart of America’s fears, resentments, embarrassments and also and most importantly, our ability to laugh at ourselves.

So, we say…bring on Bruno!

Don't know Bruno?

Check out the Bruno trailer:

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