The Dictator– Movie Review
Sacha Baron Cohen‘s The Dictator is truly one of the stupidest movies I’ve ever seen- and I mean that mostly in a good way. Cohen’s amazingly graphic and adolescent antics had me in hysterics at times, but became too forced and tiresome, which is really saying something in a movie dedicated to the memory of Kim Jong-Il.
Cohen is Admiral General Aladeen, the supreme ruler of the North African nation of Wadiya. When an assassination attempt gone wrong leaves Aladeen unrecognizable and on his own in New York, he must survive life as a normal person as he fights to reclaim his rightful place. But after meeting and falling for radical feminist/all-natural food store owner Zoe (a delightfully off-type Anna Faris), does Aladeen want things to go back to the way they were?
Aladeen’s extravagant life is an endless source of gags, as are his reactions when his world is suddenly turned upside-down and his worldview faces major pressures. The movie’s best moments are in a the buddy comedy/rom com vein: the back-and-forth between Aladeen and Nadal (The League‘s Jason Mantzoukas), an exasperated nuclear scientist whom Aladeen once ordered assassinated, and who becomes his de facto best friend in America; and with Zoe, whose willingness to forgive and understand matches the absurd levels of Aladeen’s ego.
The Dictator is clearly not a “realistic” movie, so it’s amazing that the filmmakers still manage to push the film’s absurdity (and toilet humor) too far. Some of it fits in perfectly with the idea of the dictator adjusting to real life (like Aladeen’s euphoria as he pleasures himself for the very first time), but some just gets in the way (like his inexplicable desire to carry bricks in his pocket). Obviously, the easily offended and faint of heart should stay away.
In addition, this is definitely not a sloppy movie: the costumes, hair and make up, and set pieces were all meticulously insane; and the “Wadiyan” versions of pop songs that scored the film cracked me up every time.
Did you see The Dictator? What did you think?