With the runaway success of the guerilla documentary Borat came stories of wacky situations being staged by star Sacha Baron Cohen for the benefit of the audience, and they inevitably come to mind while watching his latest, Bruno.

With the runaway success of the guerilla documentary Borat came stories of wacky situations being staged by star Sacha Baron Cohen for the benefit of the audience, and they inevitably come to mind while watching his latest, Bruno.

As Cohen's Austrian fashion journalist seeks American celebrity-hood, he goes on a talk show that's apparently been off the air for years. An actual TV show he disrupts aired on NBC, owned by the same company that's distributing Bruno.

Yet despite the questions of authenticity and the fact that Cohen's personal shock-and-awe campaign has naturally lost some of its novelty, it's still intensely effective in places.

His plunge into the depths of what can make people famous in our culture works especially well, as when he's interviewing Paula Abdul in a situation that renders her charitable conversation totally absurd, or when he gets the parent of an infant model to agree to baby lipo for a photo shoot. The film also includes the wildest use of full-frontal male nudity to date.

A little less successful are the elements that inspired the movie's joke subtitle: Delicious Journeys Through America for the Purpose of Making Heterosexual Males Visibly Uncomfortable in the Presence of a Gay Foreigner in a Mesh T-Shirt. Cohen delivers on its basic promise, but the laughs he goes for are more straight than satirical, therefore a little lazier and more troubling.