The Dictator

The Dictator
Starring Sasha Baron Cohen, Anna Faris and Ben Kingsley
Directed by Larry Charles (Borat)
Rated R for strong crude and sexual content, brief male nudity, language and some violent images

    In this mockery of both foreign dictators and The United States, Cohen stars as a tyrannical and oppressive dictator of a Middle East country who escapes an assassination and coup attempt while on a diplomatic visit to New York.  When he happens upon a nuclear physicist from his country who was supposed to have been assassinated under his order, he recruits his former countryman so that he might once again regain power.

    While Cohen’s previous outings Borat and Bruno used a combination of scripted and documentary filmmaking, this film merely has the same feel.  His character is completely over the top, but this time the butt of the joke is both the horrifying mannerisms of some of our world leaders, as well as some nice jabs at America, but not on unsuspecting victims.  But don’t worry, you won’t be offended (too badly) by his humor.  He very lovingly pokes fun at us like a favorite uncle who wants you to pull his finger. 

    Going into the film I was certain that I’d already had an overdose of Aladeen, Cohen’s character which he had been publicizing for the last several months.  In case you’ve been living in a closet, Cohen has been wearing Aladeen’s costumes for a while now, doing everything in character.  Even in his television interviews he has insisted on doing the interviews as the corrupt leader.  Some of it has been funny, but I was afraid I was over him before the movie screened.  Fortunately for me, he won me over again as an audience member.  I laughed incredibly hard from start to finish.  I almost felt bad because while people were laughing, I actually found almost everything hysterical and thus would catch myself laughing even when not many others were.  I owe that to the fact that I just happened to be on the same level as 95% of the jokes.  It was almost like the filmmakers had me in mind when they made it.  

    I don’t want to act like a snob here, but the movie is much more intellectual than you would think, which could be why I was throwing around so many guffaws.  This might seem like lowest common denominator humor, but I assure you that there are some mighty brains behind this script.  That being said, there is a lot of dirty humor here too that many folks won’t enjoy, so I would head the R rating seriously.  A-