The Dictator: Review

Posted 24/09/2012


The Dictator
Sacha Baron Cohen has made stirring up outrage into an art form. His previous onscreen alter egos (Ali G, Borat, Bruno) are all arrogant, self-deluded jackasses who’ve shocked both audiences and their unsuspecting real-life targets. This time, although the comedian has built up anticipation for ‘The Dictator’ with months of videos and public appearances in character—including famously spilling what he claimed were Kim Jong-Il’s ashes onto Ryan Seacrest on the Oscars red carpet—the movie is totally scripted. Meaning, no innocent people were harmed in its making! (Well, except maybe Megan Fox….)

When ‘The Dictator’ begins, Admiral General Aladeen (Baron Cohen, of course) is the despotic ruler of fictional North Africa nation Wadiya, who orders executions at whim and is such a megalomaniac, he’s replaced many words in the local language with his own name. When he’s double-crossed and left stranded and incognito in NYC, he forms an unlikely alliance with wide-eyed liberal activist Zoey (Anna Faris) and sets out to regain his power. The fact that we really shouldn’t be rooting for him is just one part of the envelope-pushing fun.

‘The Dictator’ is laugh-out-loud funny throughout—and frequently cringe-inducing: The humor is the polar opposite of politically correct. (In fact, there are plenty of jokes making fun of political correctness.) But if you’re offended, you’re probably missing the point: The humor may be broad, but the social satire underneath is sharp.

Plus, the genius pairing of two stellar comic talents ensures that their intentionally stereotypical characters really win us over. Obvi, Baron Cohen is a veteran at making us care about over-the-top buffoons like Aladeen, and it’s hard to imagine any actress besides the always hilarious Faris holding her own beside him in this movie. ‘The Dictator’ more than delivers on the promise of all Baron Cohen’s subversive teasers. See it—even if you’re not forcibly coerced!

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