Shalom Life | November 27, 2014

REVIEW: The Dictator

Sacha Baron Cohen's unique brand of offensive humour succeeds in 'The Dictator'

By: Jake Horowitz

Published: May 14th, 2012 in Culture » Film » Reviews

REVIEW: The Dictator

Sacha Baron Cohen is looking to stir up some controversy once again, and this time it’s with his new film, The Dictator. Written by and starring Baron Cohen as the titular dictator, General Aladeen, the film is directed by Larry Charles — director of previous Baron Cohen films Borat and Bruno — and also stars Ben Kingsley and Anna Faris. For those of you who haven’t been paying attention much to movies in the past year, the film is centered around General Aladeen’s trip to the UN in New York City and the hilarious culture clashing that ensues.

General Aladeen, who “lovingly oppresses” the people of the fictional North African country of Wadiya, is based on a hilarious mixture of Osama Bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, Kim Jeong-Il, and the ever insane Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. In this respect, Baron Cohen isn’t afraid to pull any punches when it comes to offending these people. In fact, there’s very few people that won’t come out offended after seeing The Dictator — but that’s not a bad thing.

While Baron Cohen’s Borat had people hailing him as a comedic genius that takes offensiveness to a new level and uses it to expose stupidity, Bruno was more along the lines of being offensive just to be offensive. For fans of Baron Cohen who were worried that The Dictator would follow along the lines of Bruno rather than Borat, that’s definitely not the case. The Dictator, although completely scripted and Baron Cohen’s most conventional film to date, is a welcome return to form for the comedian and should leave everyone watching thoroughly entertained.

The story, which plays out like a romantic comedy, is a little light and in some parts makes no sense at all; but there’s enough clever satire and smart social commentary to make The Dictator a must watch. Although not quite as funny as Borat, The Dictator still has enough laughs to fill several movies; even though the film is only about an hour and 15 minutes, which is incredibly short for a comedy these days. While the short running time is understandable considering that stretching the plot out any thinner would have caused serious story problems for the film, it’s regrettable that we don’t get to spend more time in the fictional world that The Dictator takes place in.

The film is at its best when it’s focusing on real-life situations and turning them into comedic gold. While The Dictator is set in an over-the-top world, it’s not hard to believe that General Aladeen is based on a few real people. Even his country’s nuclear intentions in the film are taken straight out of the news and are a not-at-all veiled allusion to Iran. When, in the film, General Aladeen goes on TV and tries to announce with a straight face that his country’s enriching of weapons-grade uranium is “definitely not to destroy Israel,” it’s nearly impossible not to laugh. Although the film consists of jokes about suicide bombers, the 1972 Munich Games, and the oppression of millions of people, Baron Cohen manages to handle it all perfectly and make light of it in the best way possible.

Although much in the film can come off as a little amateur, such as the undermining of a plot just for a joke or the often-unrealistic changes that some of the characters go through, The Dictator gets past its few problems by being one of the most consistently funny movies since Borat. With almost every joke being double sided and a reference to real life events, there’s tons of things to satisfy even the most serious movie-goer…besides the occasional physical comedy gag or (literally) potty humor. Although there is certainly not a shortage of great R-Rated Comedies in recent years, not since Borat has there been something so offensive that also manages to be so utterly funny.

Seth Rogen Invites Millions of Twitter Fans to Get High With Him Seth Rogen Invites Millions of Twitter Fans to Get High With Him TrendingJewish Hall of Fame: Billy Joel Jewish Hall of Fame: Billy Joel TrendingLena Dunham Rocks Out to Hip Hop Song Named After Her [VIDEO] Lena Dunham Rocks Out to Hip Hop Song Named After Her [VIDEO] Trending
 

Startup Club: Leap Motion

November 27, 2014 | By Caitlin Marceau
Startup Club: Leap Motion

With a wave of a hand, the company allows you to use your Mac or PC in a whole new way for games, design, and more

Read More

Breakthrough Jew - Mendy Pellin

November 27, 2014 | By Sara Torvik
Breakthrough Jew - Mendy Pellin

Pellin was referred to by The New York Times as "Stephen Colbert with a beard and a black hat."

Read More

Top 20 Things to do in Israel During the Winter

November 27, 2014 | By Abigail Klein Leichman
Top 20 Things to do in Israel During the Winter

Ski in the Hermon, watch the migratory birds, see the holiday lights, dance the lindy hop there's plenty of fun to heat up chilly days.

Read More

Natalie Portman to Star in Steve Jobs Biopic?

November 27, 2014 | By Ashley Baylen
Natalie Portman to Star in Steve Jobs Biopic?

The 'Thor' actress is in negotiations to star in Danny Boyle's upcoming film following the Apple co-founder.

Read More

Sarah Jessica Parker to Launch Shoe Line in Dubai

November 27, 2014 | By Ashley Baylen
Sarah Jessica Parker to Launch Shoe Line in Dubai

The SJP Collection will be available at Harvey Nichols and Bloomingdale's in Dubai.

Read More

Melissa Rivers Posts Thanksgiving Wishes From Mom Joan’s Account

November 27, 2014 | By Ashley Baylen
Melissa Rivers Posts Thanksgiving Wishes From Mom Joan’s Account

Rivers "finally figured out" her mom's Twitter password, takes the opportunity to wish her fans a Happy Thanksgiving.

Read More

Seth Rogen Invites Millions of Twitter Fans to Get High With Him

November 27, 2014 | By Ashley Baylen
Seth Rogen Invites Millions of Twitter Fans to Get High With Him

'The Interview' star wants followers to "get baked" with him in Denver.

Read More

You Can Now Take a Virtual Tour of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Death Camp

November 27, 2014 | By Daniel Koren
You Can Now Take a Virtual Tour of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Death Camp

The Auschwitz museum has unveiled a new virtual tour on its website

Read More

More Headlines