Cohen's Comedics Are Not For The Faint Of Heart, As Usual.
Admiral General Aladeen (Sacha Baron Cohen) rules the country of Wadiya with an iron fist (or perhaps “iron beard” is more fitting). Anyway, the much feared and loathed ruler makes a trip to The United Nations in New York City to address delegates about the rumors that Wadiya is developing nuclear weapons. Aladeen is betrayed by one of his closest aides and ends up deposed on the streets of NYC while a look-a-like (also played by Sacha Baron Cohen) is used to further alternative plans for Wadiya. Aladeen finds unlikely friends in the city and plots to reclaim his position as the rightful ruler of Wadiya. The Dictator
plays much more like a traditional comedy film rather than the “mockumentary” films that Sacha Baron Cohen has produced in the past. Don't worry because that doesn't mean The Dictator
isn't any less outrageous or offensive as his past films. This time around the humor is inspired by a variety of headlines related to the Arab Spring movement, the international oil industry, Middle Eastern cultures, and a few real life dictators. Even celebrities get some ribbing in a running gag about American movie stars trading sexual relations with foreign dignitaries in exchange for money and expensive gifts. Cameos by Meagan Fox and Ed Norton help to add more "punch" to that particular punchline.
As with past Sacha Baron Cohen movies you really should leave your inhibitions, political views and sense of proper morality outside in the theater lobby. Those who pay attention to current affairs will probably be tickled by all the nutty references to topics including women's civil rights, the nuclear situation in places like Iran and North Korea and terrorist acts carried out by religious extremists and other radicals specifically from the Middle East. I hate to get political but I think liberals and “left wingers” will probably laugh their butts off while the more conservative folks will either find the movie completely out of line or will walk out ready to try out some new derogatory terms for Middle Eastern peoples that they will be itching to try out in public.
However, there are some that might be rubbed the wrong way by how The Dictator
adds a humorous spin to subjects such as “9/11”, suicide bombers, torture and anti-Israeli sentiments. And to release such a film during Memorial Day weekend when the focus is on soldiers who fought and continued to fight against real life tyrants and regimes that “General Aladeen” is based on may also seem in poor taste. There are many, especially those in the Armed Forces or civilians personally affected by radical extremists or dictatorships, who will not think anything in The Dictator
is a laughing matter.
I watched it and laughed at the jokes knowing in the back of my mind that waterboarding is bad, that nuclear weapons in the hands of egomaniacs is really bad and that attacks from terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda are deadly serious. I guess after years of living in constant vigil of another suicide bombing or airplane-turned-missile it can be a bit of a relief to crack a few jokes about these sad and stressful realities. Plus, the film makes a strong effort to redeem itself by redeeming the central character. Yeah, it's your typical riches to rags to enlightenment scenario where the spoiled and self-centered dictator learns compassion and envisions a new way to rule Wadiya.....if he is able to reclaim his throne, of course. The Dictator
isn't for everybody so if the previews gave you an uneasy feeling then avoid this movie because there is more from where the sample clips came from. For those looking for a good laugh The Dictator
has a good helping of political and cultural ribbing along with some universal potty humor that everyone can laugh along with. I generally don't see comedies on the big screen because they are usually just as good as rentals. For Sacha Baron Cohen, though, I do make an exception. I also make sure to catch a matinee show so I don't pay full price. Rhymes With: Borat
(2009), 21 Jump Street
(2012), You Don't Mess With The Zohan (2008), Coming To America
(1988), Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story
(2007), Step Brothers
(2001) Coming Soon:
Hit And Run
– A former “getaway car” driver (Dax Shepherd) is on the run from an old gangster pal (Bradley Cooper) and a cop (Tom Arnold). His poor girlfriend (Kristen Bell) is dragged along for the wild and crazy ride. 4/24/12 http://www.facebook.com/hitandrunmovie/info That's My Boy
– Donny (Adam Sandler) fell in love with his high school teacher and knocked her up. Many years later Donny looks to rekindle his relationship with his estranged son (Andy Samberg) partially hoping that his offspring will pass him a loan so he can avoid prison. 6/15/12 http://www.thatsmyboy-movie.com/ Anchorman: The Legend Continues
– Ron Burgundy (Will Farrell) and his team of goofball newsmen are returning to the big screen next year. The teaser only featured Ron and his pals spouting some nutty dialogue so I have no idea what the plot is. At least fans will be happy to see the core cast is pretty much back in action. Sometime in 2013 http://www.anchormanmovie.com/