Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Dictator: Movie Review

The Dictator

Cast: Sacha Baron Cohen, Anna Faris

Writers:  Sacha Baron Cohen, Alec Berg, David Mandel, Jeff Schaffer

Director: :Larry Charles

**'s out of four

Sacha Baron Cohen is know for making up wild characters and putting them out in the real world..  Both "Borat" and "Bruno" were brilliant comedies because it was the non scripted reactions the regular public had  to these characters that made it so damn funny.   "The Dictator" removes the improv for a more plot driving one and while the jokes are still funny. They would have worked a little bit better in the other format.

The story is about a lovable(and I use that word loosely) Dictator(Sacha Baron Cohen) who comes to the U.S. to speak at the United Nations about how his country is a proud dictatorship.  While there he is double crossed by one of his top advisors(Sir Ben Kingsley) and replaced by a double who looks like him , but acts way more stupid.  Their plan is to turn his beloved country into a democracy.   The bastards even had the gall to shave of his beloved beard.   Since no one believes he is the true leader of the oppressed.  He manages to get a job at a liberal owned health food store run by Zooey(Anna Faris).  Now he must find a way to make it back to the U.N. in three days so the country he loves will continued to be oppressed.

Unlike his two previous characters this one was not featured on Cohen's television program "Da Ali G Show".  If it were he might have had more time to give him a little bit more depth and a bit more personality.  His Dictator character comes off more like one from a sketch comedy show rather than a movie. He has a lot of great one liners that are funny, but soon that's all he has.  Anna Farris tones down her usual hotness to play the stereotypical vegan loving hippie that our leader of the oppressed eventually  falls in love with, but that whole subplot felt tacked on. I like the relationship between him and his nuclear scientist (Jason Mantzoukas) more because they had much better chemistry.   There is a scene where they are in a helicopter with two other American tourists that is very funny because of the language difference.

Like alot of comedies now a days this one has to be shocking.  Which would be fine if I wasn't already numb to it by now.  Showing a penis smash into a glass wall just doesn't make me laugh like it used to.  The movie has several moments where it will take a good shock joke, but than over milk it to the point of loosing any of it's intended humor.    The movie has several cameos from celebrities that are made to look shocking, but none of them seem to know what the joke is.   The movie does end on a high note with a great speech at the end.  I will not spoil it here, but the way he speaks about America is shocking, but true.  I just wished the entire movie would have had relied more on the political satire side rather than the gross out one.


  1. I feel the same with regards to the satire. That's exactly what I was hoping for but got more of the same gross out comedy.

  2. Thanks for the comment Tom. Cohen is best known for the Improv comedy. Why he went for a scripted one that anyone could have done is beyond me. It still has some funny moments in it.