Movie Review of Sacha Baron Cohen’s ‘The Dictator’
Sacha Baron Cohen is perhaps best known for his turn as Borat, here in the U.S. While Borat balances innocence with hints of shamelessness, The Dictator is simply crude, willing to bash any and all comers. Far less innocent, but this mostly works. In The Dictator, SBC plays General Admiral Aladeen, the ruler of a small middle eastern country Wadiya. Aladeen rules Wadiya with an iron fist, preferring to execute those that disagree with him or even hint at mocking his lack of intelligence.
Larry Charles Directs Sacha Baron Cohen in ‘The Dictator’
Admiral Aladeen basically does whatever he wants. He is so clever and proud of himself that he renamed 300 words in the dictionary to “aladeen.” This has been the source of some confusion in certain circumstances. Aladeen has won his own Golden Globes, 14 gold medals in his own Olympics and apparently remixes American songs, from Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get it On” to Dr. Dre’s “The Next Episode.” Alas, the General is lonely inside, preferring to bang wealthy American stars, but not just the names you might suspect. Anyway, in general, Aladeen is simply a bit nuts.
People close to him conspire against him though. Thus, Aladeen is forced to come to America to address the United Nations, advising them that he will not sign a treaty to turn his country into a democracy. However, his plot is foiled when he is kidnapped and replaced by a lesser form of human being. Aladeen’s right hand man (Ben Kingsley) plans to turn his country into said democracy, and handsomely profit by doing so. SBC’s Aladeen must stop this at all costs.
Sacha Baron Cohen’s ‘The Dictator’ Riffs On Everything
To give too much more away about the plot would ruin it, despite the fact that the plot merely serves as a loose framework to load on the gags and crude jokes. Alas, SBC provides them in spades. He leaves few stones unturned, fearing not to offend any race, gender, belief system, political standing and more. At one point, Aladeen – with his feminist love interest Zoe (Anna Faris) – has an incident with a cell phone during a child’s birth. The man just doesn’t stop, and it’s something you have to respect.
Fortunately, several of Hollywood’s big names are name-dropped and at least a few are in on the jokes. Baron Cohen pushes as many buttons as he can in The Dictator and while this can’t always pay off, it works enough to keep you laughing, forced or embarrassingly so or not, throughout the proceedings. A word of warning though, this is a film that plans to offend. Women, minorities and more will be demolished, so stay away if you can’t handle the consequences. For those that like this sort of madness, The Dictator will rule your funny bone for a while I’m certain. (By the way, stay through the end for some good outtakes and a little more pushing of the storyline.)