Monday, May 14, 2012
REVIEW: The Dictator
Sacha Baron Cohen, Anna Farris
May 16, 2012
1 hour 23 minutes
It's not necessary to take a film about a ruling dictator so seriously when the movie literally opens up with a tribute to one of the few hated men of the world that died last year. Sacha Baron Cohen has taken the world by storm in his acclaimed movie 'Borat,' but disappointed audiences with his second dip into a strange character, 'Bruno.' What's different about 'The Dictator' is that A.) this is a fully scripted film and everyone is an actor, and B.) there is an actual story rather than Admiral General Aladeen going around and interacting with ordinary people for 83 minutes. The story involves Aladeen, who wants to keep his country a dictatorship, coming to America and being removed by power and having his beard shaved so nobody can recognize him. Now Aladeen has to live among ordinary Americans and try to fit in so he can devise a plan to regain power. It should be known that if you are expecting ANYTHING rather than offensive jokes, sexual content, foul language, and at least one shot of a penis, then you are looking for the wrong movie. While this film has everything just listed, writer/star Sacha Baron Cohen and director Larry Charles have crafted an offensive, crude, yet smart and hilarious movie that may well go down as one of the funniest movies of 2012.
Sacha Baron Cohen is notorious for diving into over the top and strange characters like 'Borat' and many others, so Admiral General Aladeen should be no exception at all. Other than seeing his villainous role as Jean Girald in 'Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby' and hearing his hilarious voice work in the 'Madagascar' films as King Julien, this was my first experience with any of Baron Cohen's characters. After seeing one of his R-rated characters in action, I can honestly say that Baron Cohen is one gifted man. He is able to fully transform into these insane characters and act as if the characters are himself. In fact, he only ever appears in costume as the title character of his latest film whenever he does interviews and makes appearances on 'The Oscars' and even 'Saturday Night Live.' Cohen is outrageously funny in this film, with some of the jokes in this movie being so shocking and so jaw dropping that the laughs will be pouring out of your mouth like drool. Because of his crazy performance and his brilliant writing, I was laughing harder in this film than any other film this year, which includes '21 Jump Street' and 'Casa de Mi Padre.' Sacha Baron Cohen, I thank you for offending the living hell out of every race and religion in the entire world because without the racist humor, this movie would have been pretty awful.
Anna Farris has some good jokes in this movie despite playing the eco-friendly love interest. While some of the jokes involving her unshaved armpits goes a little bit over the top, the way Farris and Baron Cohen play off of each other was great to watch. Ben Kingsley felt like the weak point of the film, despite the audience knowing exactly his motivations are for doing what he does in this film. Kingsley also felt much underused because he was in the film for about 30 minutes of it, even though he is an important character in the movie. Still though, he is a very funny addition in this movie. John C. Riley has a much smaller part in the film than you'd expect. The two scenes you see him in during the trailers of the movie are the only two scenes he's actually in the film. That too was disappointing, but Riley is very funny in those two scenes. Jason Mantzoukas is hilarious as the one guy in America who recognizes Aladeen without the beard. This guy shares one of the best scenes with Cohen, in which the two are in a helicopter and stuff happens. This guy other than Cohen was the funniest actor in the film. The cast in this film is quite stellar, despite a couple of people being underused.
Sacha Baron Cohen and Larry Charles are a master class duo together. While their jokes can go a bit over the top, they still manage to produce a bucket load of belly-laughs for the audience to endure. 'The Dictator' may have you rolling on the ground laughing with one joke, but could also have you easily offended in another jokes. It all depends if you are offended easily that you will enjoy this movie or not. Personally I wasn't offended much, but rather a tad uncomfortable because of how raunchy the film can get. In fact there is a scene involving self-pleasuring that had me laughing so hard that I was choking on the tears of joy coming out of my eye sockets. If 'The Dictator' was that funny, then I wonder how much laughter and enjoyment I'll get when I eventually see 'Borat' and 'Bruno.' The cast is great, particularly Sacha Baron Cohen and Jason Mantzoukas. The script of the film is both brilliant and hilarious. Most of all, it is an overall R rated laugh fest that can easily go down as one of the funniest, maybe even the funniest movie of 2012. Films like 'The Watch' and 'Ted' still have to come out, so we all never know. However for the time being, if you are trying to get off of 'The Avengers' bandwagon (why would you be anyway) and want to see something refreshing and original, or you just do't want to see a generic action sci-fi flick like 'Battleship,' then bow down to Admiral General Aladeen, aka 'The Dictator' and bask in his oh so mighty glory.