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General Musings, Reviews

The Dictator Review


‘The Dictator’ is the latest film to be headlined by the comedian Sacha Baron Cohen and is directed by Larry Charles, both of whom have worked together before with this latest release completing a trilogy of work for the two of them. Unfortunately this work is not the holy trinity but another use for the good, the bad and the ugly. The good is ‘Borat’, the ugly is ‘Bruno’ and the bad  is simply ‘The Dictator’. Read on for more info…

‘The Dictator’ is a little different to the past two films in which Sacha Baron Cohen took the lead with ‘Borat’ and ‘Bruno’ as the film is much more scripted and does not prey on the actions of unaware victims like Cohen’s previous escapades. This leaves us with an actual theatrical story which follows the dictator Aladeen (Cohen) of the fictional country of Wadiya as he tries to prevent democracy from taking over his wonderful nation. In his mission Aladeen must make a speech at the headquarters of the United Nations in the United States, however problems occur as he becomes embroiled in a conspiracy against his leadership. After being kidnapped and having his beard shaved off Aladeen must reclaim his leadership, keep away from many people he ordered executed and manage to get by in a world he is unfamiliar with. In his way is his traitorous uncle (Ben Kingsley) and the overwhelming force of democracy.

Sacha Baron Cohen: The Dictator
Aladeen ordering an execution
It has been three years since the horrendous ‘Bruno’ plagued our screens and since Cohen has had a starring role in a film, fortunately for Cohen and ‘The Dictator’ it is nowhere near as bad as ‘Bruno’ but is not nearly as good as ‘Borat’. In the realm of comedy films it lies in that massive quagmire of middle of the road comedy that provides its moments but fails to shine in any area but most importantly in its comedy. Obviously the heart and soul of a comedy film is the ability to make the audience laugh and provide fun and original comedy but ‘The Dictator’ fails to consistently provide us with memorable and funny moments only achieving slight success.
‘The Dictator’ was always going to face the challenge of overcoming the awkward and political comedy that worked so well in ‘Borat’ and other films of the same ilk and the comedy that features in ‘The Dictator’ demonstrates it as the jokes and comedy provided are substandard and overused. Though a scripted story allows some more flexibility the comedy in the film is quite the opposite, jokes that work at first are horribly abused over and over and over again, for example I grew angry and frustrated at the consistent jokes used on Anna Faris looking like a boy. If this shows anything it is a lack of creativity and ideas for decent laughs. The best comedy that features in the film goes largely unnoticed and underused as contrasts and similarities are made between democracy and a dictatorship but even these moments pass by without any major laugh.

Memorable moment…few and far between

One of the more decent elements of the film is the performance by Sacha Baron Cohen as he shows once again his uncanny ability to play and prod fun at aspects of our and the worlds differing culture. The problem now is that like many of the jokes in the film is that Cohen playing a foreign character is becoming overused, a return to playing an English or American should hopefully demonstrate the comedy Cohen can deliver that is better than what is on show in this film.

At the end of it all ‘The Dictator’ is a decent comedy that relies on the same jokes throughout and fails to draw any major laughs or memorable moments and for this reason it will not live long in the memory of most who watch it and will most likely not make an impact when released on DVD. There is not much to write home about ‘The Dictator’ much like there is not much to enjoy in this film. The comedy when it works is funny but not hilarious and the majority of the actors in the film are underused and believe it or not, too much of Sacha Baron Cohen is not a good thing.

About Snooty Usher Dan

Favourite Film: One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975) Worst Film: The Hills Have Eyes 2 (2007) Guilty Pleasure: Step Up 2: The Streets (The dancing is awesome ok.....)

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