The Dictator Movie Review
In THE DICTATOR, Sacha Baron Cohen is General Aladeen, Waadeya’s eccentric Dictator, who just happens to be hard at work trying to make his country a nuclear force to be reckoned with. The U.S. are on to him though and demand he personally speak on his country’s behalf in New York, which just happens to be the perfect time for his uncle to stage a coup in hopes of cashing in on Waadeya’s massive oil supply.
To say Sacha Baron Cohen is an acquired taste would be a pristine understatement. As you can well imagine, DA ALI G SHOW wasn’t as widespread a phenomenon as you might think (for reals?) which ended up being a good thing for Cohen, otherwise BORAT and BRUNO wouldn’t have fooled as many people as they did. Of course, with the exposure both those spoof movies generated, I have no doubt that Sacha Baron Cohen would have a much harder time concealing himself at all, much less sporting a goofy beard. Is this the reason he chose to go full comedy with this flick? Maybe, maybe not, but one thing’s for certain, for all of General Aladeen’s fast talking bravado, it’s a little sad to see him end up shooting blanks.
What made BORAT and BRUNO funny was Cohen’s ability to fool normal people on the street into thinking he actually was these bizarro characters doing all sorts of outlandish things. Now I’m not saying these two movies are blockbusters, far from it in fact. I laughed myself into stitches during my initial viewings, but I tried re-watching both films and simply couldn’t do it. These movies are funny the first go around, but unfortunately have little to no replay value. That said, at least they were funny the first time. THE DICTATOR simply isn’t funny. It tries to be, with the rewording of popular songs, swapping in the General’s own lyrics (something I did enjoy), and then there’s the ongoing joke about the General changing half the words in his country’s language to “Aladeen” which spawn ridiculous gems like “Would you like the Aladeen news, or the Aladeen news?” And, “I’m afraid you’re HIV Aladeen.” Sigh.
As far as casting goes I wasn’t at all surprised to see Anna Faris here, her career just never seems to have gotten going. And I know this sounds mean, but this had to have been the most unattractive I’ve ever seen her (a point I make because she’s Aladeen’s love interest). This was a definite waste of Ben Kingsley’s time and why oh why would you lower yourself to these standards Edward Norton? There was also a Megan Fox cameo which was destroyed by the trailers. Funny thing about that though, the dialogue was altogether different, as was the case with most scenes from the trailers. As per Cohen’s M.O. there’s quite a few “gross out” scenes as well. Of course now that we know they’re coming, they tend to grate on your nerves more than anything. Seeing him milk a woman (yes, that way) is almost as ridiculous as including a (much too long) scene about masturbating for the first time. Sigh.
THE DICTATOR could’ve been funny, there was lots of potential here, especially considering the political backdrop of the story. Our government is a joke and we all know it, so having him poke fun at something we can relate to would’ve been a welcome addition. I will give Cohen props for his advertising though, the man knows how to promote his films. Sadly though, these promotional pieces were by far the funniest moments attached to this film. There was also some funny blooper stuff after the credits and a decent scene with John C. Reilly but all in all this was a unforgivable mess of a comedy that did everything BUT make me laugh (and not just me, you could’ve heard a pin drop in that room). The biggest smile to cross my features came when I excited the theater. Sorry folks, but THE DICTATOR sucked major Aladeen.