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The Dictator

by Michael The Moviegoer on May 20, 2012

Movie Summary of The Dictator by Michael The Moviegoer.

 

THE DICTATOR = ***

“So Very Aladeen”

Unlike Sacha Baron Cohen’s previous comedies “Borat” and “Bruno”, “The Dictator” is NOT in the style of a mockumentary. It is a laugh-a-minute scripted, acted, expertly photographed in widescreen and beautiful-to-look-at film. Cohen and director Larry Charles put a lot of love into this madness, and it’s the audience who is rewarded.

I was not expecting to like “The Dictator” as much as I did. All the weird pre-marketing stunts, starting with Cohen dumping ashes on Ryan Seacrest during a red carpet interview at this year’s Academy Awards, just turned me off. The idea backfired in that it had me thinking that if you must go to such extremes to promote a movie, it’s probably not very good.

But I’m glad I didn’t skip “The Dictator” because I found it to be as politically smart as it is crude. Cohen is a comic genius in how he uses jokes to highlight truths we’d rather not admit to noticing.

Cohen’s dictator character is Admiral General Haffaz Aladeen. He’s the power-mad ruler of the fictional country Wadiya. He’s an arrogant, conceited stone cold cup of crazy to the extreme where he’s even replaced most of the words in his language with the word Aladeen. (An AIDS-test patient waits to learn if the results are HIV-Aladeen or HIV-Aladeen!)

Aladeen’s corrupt uncle (Ben Kingsley) accompanies the dictator to a UN meeting in New York where he tries to assassinate the leader and replace him with an impostor who will bring democracy to Wadiya. But Aladeen escapes assassination only to become lost in Brooklyn where he gets a job at a health food store run by Zoey (a very funny Anna Faris).

As expected, “The Dictator” is a marathon of hit-and-miss jokes. Some result in explosive laughter, while others land with the silent thud of an Iraqi scud missile. Some of the best jokes are also the most distasteful and potentially offensive. But if you’re the audience for a Sacha Baron Cohen comedy, you already know to expect that.

DVD Double Feature:

“The Dictator” has so many echoes of Eddie Murphy’s 1988 classic comedy “Coming To America”. Murphy plays an African prince searching for a queen. He feels the best place to find one would be in Queens, New York. John Landis directed this very funny and surprisingly heartfelt comedy.

Michael The Moviegoer

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