Running Time: 83 minutes
US Certificate: R UK Certificate: 15
Country: United States
At the end of my review of Bruno I wondered what Sasha Baron Cohen would do now that his comic creations from Da Ali G show had all made big screen appearances – would he attempt a comedy without public participation? Well, he’s obviously a massive fan of mine, read my very well-received review and went ahead and made one – The Dictator.
Cohen plays General Aladeen a comically over-the-top (or possibly very realistic) Dictator of the oil-rich North African country of Wadiya. It’s comes to the attention of the United Nations that this absurdly cruel head of state is enriching Uranium to be used for nuclear weaponry and they make him to come to America to explan himself to the council. Whilst he’s there, things go a little wrong and he ends up penniless, anonymous and working in a cafe.
The fish-out-of-water story is not exactly original as the concept and execution of The Dictator isn’t a million miles away from Coming To America with Eddie Murphy’s African King popping over to the states. Unsurprisingly though, Cohen has ramped up the offensiveness to new levels and the modern flesh on these stolen bones have made this into a completely different animal.
There’s no doubting SBC’s skill of manipulating the feeling of the time – previously it had been the war on terror taking it on the chin, this time it’s the fashionable demise of the old school dictators and rogue states like Iran. He pokes fun at many contemporary situations with refreshing abandon, including situations with the real Osama bin Laden hiding out in a spare room of his palace and a double-entendred obsession with having a big missile. It’s not as satirical as his previous outings and it is pretty immature at times (although never stooping to the gross out level of Bruno) but it has plenty of very funny moments and excellent one-liners to help it pull through.
It's Got: Lots of humour - offensive and straight down the line, a great central character, something at least slightly different from Cohen
It Needs: To have slightly less stolen/imitated plotlines from other fish-out-of-water comedes
Alternatives:Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, Bruno, Coming to America
Not exactly original or groundbreaking but The Dictator is Sasha Baron Cohen back to his best. Lots of offensively good gags and a massive performance from the comedian himself.