Movie review: The Dictator

Sacha Baron Cohen in a scene from the movie The Dictator.
Sacha Baron Cohen in a scene from the movie The Dictator. Contributed - Image.net

WHAT fresh outrage and hilarity can we expect from Sacha Baron Cohen in his latest transformation?

Recognising the jig is up as far as slipping under the radar is concerned, it's back to the drawing board and his fictional roots for the comic guerrilla.

Exaggerated stereotypes, political triggers and the pushing of cultural buttons all abound in the form of his latest character, Admiral General Aladeen.

While The Dictator begins with a mockumentary style nod to Baron Cohen's second and third films, it is more a throwback to his beginnings than a fourth chapter in his offensively funny body of work.

With Borat in 2006 Baron Cohen achieved a milestone in comic cinema.

Simultaneously horrifyingly offensive and stomach-achingly hilarious it broke new ground in ambush documentaries aimed to both entertain and expose the vanity of it's subjects and their tipping point of tolerance.

As with such films, the follow-ups are often bound to disappoint.

This was the case with Bruno which while still outrageously funny didn't quite pack the punch that Borat did.

With Borat the fun lay in where, when and how far the line would be crossed.

Audiences sat transfixed shrouded in a nervous energy as the film danced an electrifying dance between the pranker and the unknowingly pranked.

Just how far he would he would push the boundaries was the appeal.

Now we know there is no line Baron Cohen will not hesitate to cross and like letting the air out of a balloon losing this element of surprise leaves The Dictator a little empty.

In saying that, The Dictator is still an exceptionally funny piece of cinema.

Ridiculously racist, offensive and sexist it is also a raucous ride and pithy commentary on the state of democracy in America although it could have possibly pushed this agenda slightly further.

Rape, abortion and queasy sex gags abound and yet it is a far warmer film than you might expect and General Aladeen is a far rounder and more layered character than first appears.

Baron Cohen is in fine form aided by crude comedy veteran Anna Faris who shines as the politically correct and righteously feminist love interest.

Some of it works, some of it doesn't but the bottom line is its funny, very funny and only something Baron Cohen could pull off.

There is still no one around so exquisitely and perfectly wrong.

Resistance is futile; The Dictator will make you laugh.


The Dictator

  • Stars: Sacha Baron Cohen, Anna Faris, John C.Reilly, Ben Kingsley
  • Director: Larry Charles
  • Rated: MA15+
  • Verdict: Three out of four stars

Topics:  film movie movie review sacha baron cohen the dictator

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