Did you love Borat? Were you one of the very few that didn’t walk out midway during Bruno? Then get ready to try your hardest for a laugh or two in The Dictator. One of the very few movies this week where you’re encouraged to laugh at jokes about 14 year old boys being raped and committing suicide. Laughing yet?… How about now?
Sacha Baron Cohen stars as General Aladeen, a dictator whose country is at risk of becoming a democracy, and while visiting America, he’s taken hostage and stripped of his beloved beard (because no one could recognize a man without a beard that looks fake to begin with) and with that, he’s broke, homeless and still on a mission to prevent democracy from entering his country, which a double (also played by Sacha Baron Cohen) is about to do. While doing all he can to stop this, he meets a vegan feminist (you heard me) who stands for democracy and equality, played by Anna Faris. At first, General Aladeen is at his usual worst, being sexist, racist and just about every other mean thing a human can be, until he has no choice but to “act” like a kind and respectable person in order for her to help him with such basic needs as food, clothing and a job… working at her vegan green grocer shop. Hilarity ensues… yet never comes. With all this in mind, can General Aladeen be recognized in time to save his country from democracy and continue its oppression while in the process become a nice, caring man who falls for a feminist vegan?
So it has a plot, although ridiculous, it still has one. Now to what it doesn’t have.
Borat is a damn funny movie, Remember when it first came out back in 2006 and it was declared one of the funniest movies ever made by.. well, half the population? Then Bruno was released in 2009 and scared the other half of the population with its constantly dirty humour (which some of was funny). So, The Dictator is essentially the tie breaker, the one that’s meant to bring lovers of Cohen back from Bruno’s unfunny wrath, and does it succeed? God no, of course it doesn’t.
Sacha Baron Cohen is a very funny guy, he knows the timing of a joke through and through, he’s also a great actor (see Hugo and Sweeney Todd) So what’s the problem? it’s not funny anymore. The character of Borat was at times, racist and sexist and ignorantly so, but the majority of those jokes were still very funny, we still liked Borat, there was a heart in all his vulgar ignorance. General Aladeen isn’t funny, or interesting or ignorant, he knows he’s racist and sexist and foul, and his character transformation at the end? Nope, there isn’t one, so you’re stuck for 83 minutes with a racist douche with a terribly unconvincing accent.
In reading that last sentence, this reviewer must sound like a 70 year old conservative who can’t take a joke or a bit of vulgarity? I’m afraid not, this reviewer is no prude, but instead likes a joke and a heart to go along with all (or any) distasteful dialogue and characters. And that’s The Dictator’s major problem, none of what’s being said is funny, they literally don’t bother with a joke and just say racist and sexist comments while you sit in your chair and squirm.
If you’re still unconvinced, how’s this, remove 90% of the jokes in Borat… still with me? (We now have a 12 minute movie) and make Borat aware that he’s being an ass and make his accent sound more rehearsed and fake while openly insulting everyone around him and not caring. That’s The Dictator in all its mean spirited glory. This makes Bruno seem like a funny film, remember it wasn’t?
The supporting cast includes Ben Kingsley and John C. Reily who is one of this reviewer’s favourite actors and he’s given next to nothing to do. Ben Kingsley is paid to make a fool of himself and act out some lame physical comedy. Not even two great actors could save this film. More injustice.
But to be fair, even if you do read this review, some of you will see it no matter what and it’s understandable why, the trailer was kinda funny, Sacha Baron Cohen making appearances as General Aladeen as of recently have been really funny and what look to be a return to form of sorts… There are three decent jokes in the entire film and one exceptionally funny joke that is delivered by Anna Faris, the rest is mean and said with horrible accents and poor acting that’d make even a deaf man cringe, they’re distasteful and all you’re left to do is sit there and wait for a joke…. It never happens, trust me.
What should’ve been disgusting and distasteful with a whole heap of excruciatingly funny jokes is just one long 83 minute rant about how everyone is pathetic in some way.
It’s quite scary how advertising and synopsis’ for the film have lied to everyone by calling it a comedy, The Dictator is essentially Sacha Baron Cohen stripping to his bare ass, turning around and bending over while yelling at the camera, horrible and insulting things about everyone watching and in between each comment shouting “LAUGH, NOW”. Still laughing?
This reviewer all in all wasn’t that insulted by what was said but how it was said and how it didn’t bother to tell a joke amongst any of it. As mentioned earlier, a conversation about General Aladeen raping 14 year old boys is had and it lasts for at least two minutes and there’s no punchline or joke to speak of, it’s just ugly.
Oh and if anything has to be commended, Baron Cohen only pulls his dick out once this time, instead of the usual seventeen or eighteen. Good work buddy.