Shalom Life | October 25, 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.

Who Was Sarah Michelle Gellar's Favorite On-Screen Kiss With? Who Was Sarah Michelle Gellar's Favorite On-Screen Kiss With? TrendingPaula Abdul Wants You To "Check Yourself" During Breast Cancer Awareness Month Paula Abdul Wants You To "Check Yourself" During Breast Cancer Awareness Month TrendingSmart People Listen to Bob Dylan, Dumb People Listen to Beyonce Smart People Listen to Bob Dylan, Dumb People Listen to Beyonce Trending
 

Seinfeld Finally Joins Facebook and Instagram [VIDEO]

October 24, 2014 | By Ashley Baylen
Seinfeld Finally Joins Facebook and Instagram [VIDEO]

A hilarious video shows Michael Richards asking Seinfeld to take out Netflix and Hulu.

Read More

Seth Rogen and Megan Fox Join James Franco’s ‘Zeroville’

October 24, 2014 | By Ashley Baylen
Seth Rogen and Megan Fox Join James Franco’s ‘Zeroville’

Rogen and Fox will be co-starring alongside Will Ferrell, Danny McBride and Dave Franco

Read More

Mila Kunis Dolls Are Coming To a Store Near You

October 24, 2014 | By Ashley Baylen
Mila Kunis Dolls Are Coming To a Store Near You

Adorable dolls featuring Mila Kunis and Channing Tatum in 'Jupiter Ascending' are coming out in January

Read More

Jews Around the World to Take Part in the Shabbat Project

October 24, 2014 | By Daniel Koren
Jews Around the World to Take Part in the Shabbat Project

Jews in 460 cities across the world to take part in the inspirational Jewish initiative, including Paula Abdul and Mayim Bialik

Read More

Wix Named 'Hottest Middle Eastern Startup'

October 24, 2014 | By Viva Sarah Press
Wix Named 'Hottest Middle Eastern Startup'

Inc. magazine credits Israeli DIY website creation platform with taking a complicated task and making it enjoyable

Read More

‘Fury’ A Blistering Account of World War II—Sans the Holocaust

October 24, 2014 | By Jason Stack, JNS.org
‘Fury’ A Blistering Account of World War II—Sans the Holocaust

The Brad Pitt and Shia LaBeouf-starring film essentially omits the brunt of the Holocaust from World War II

Read More

Israeli Company Shows that Energy Does in Fact Grow on Trees

October 24, 2014 | By NoCamels Team
Israeli Company Shows that Energy Does in Fact Grow on Trees

The eTree is a solar-powered urban habitat that is constructed from metal pipes and topped with solar panels

Read More

For the First Time Ever, Women of the Wall Hold Torah Reading at the Kotel

October 24, 2014 | By Kobi Nachshoni
For the First Time Ever, Women of the Wall Hold Torah Reading at the Kotel

Western Wall rabbi says "This will never happen again" after the group managed to smuggle a tiny scroll into the women's section of the Western Wall

Read More

More Headlines