The Dictator [2012] ★★

As someone who, swimming against the current, doesn’t care much for Sacha Baron Cohen and his alter egos, Borat, Ali G and Bruno, I still wanted to give the guy another chance to impress me. I certainly couldn’t have predicted a movie as lame and mediocre as “The Dictator”. Why? Because it wussies out on a sharp premise. Judging from the stunt Cohen pulled on Oscar night back in February, you’d expect more from his movie. Instead, it’s a dreary collection of  clichés and caricatures with a few laughs in between. Cohen plays  Admiral General Aladeen, dictator of the fictional North African country of Wadiya. On a trip to New York, he is duped by his chief advisor (Ben Kinglsey) to sign a peace treaty at the United Nations. Instead, he is replaced by his double and left to survive all alone in the big city. And so dies “The Dictator”, as it gets sillier and sillier as we move along. Blame Baron Cohen, who’s wasted himself once again in a movie that eliminates laughs in favor of relentless stupidity. 2009’s “Bruno” was lousy, but it was also a big hit. So “The Dictator”  is more of the stupid same. What the man doesn’t get is that at this point, the formula is beginning to feel old. If you’ve seen any of his previous films, you’ll know exactly what to expect from his latest effort. Problem is: it’s not so funny anymore. The idea is concrete, but the execution couldn’t be more sloppy. Still, there’s one hilarious scene featuring John C. Reilly as a hotel manager who mistakes our man for an Arab. “You’re all Arabs to me,” he says, “the blacks, the Jews, those blue, tree-hugging queers in Avatar.”  Too bad we don’t get more scenes like this one. Instead, “The Dictator” comes off as a blueprint for a funny script no one really made. Now that’s what I call suicide.

Rating: 2/4

8 replies »

  1. If you googled the guy, first thing will be “a stand-up comedian”. And then you’ll say: Wait, what?! I’ve seen him like three times trying to get what’s so funny. I’ll tell you what, this review is much more amusing, I repeat, much more, than he is.

  2. I found Bruno to be completely repulsive and disgusting. The Dictator, on the other hand, portrays the stereotypical view of an arab and an arab dictator in a funny cinematic perspective. As a student who did his masters abroad in a highly multi-cultural environment, it really conveys a truth as to how we are perceived by foreigners.

    I loved the Dictator for what it stands for and the humor is something that truly appeals to me. The plot can be further developed, i agree, but the final output is for me successful. Let’s see how the movie makes it in revenues.

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