21 ago. 2012

My Review: The Dictator (5/10)

¨I love it when women go to school. It's like seeing a monkey on roller-skates. It means nothing to them, but it's so adorable for us. ¨

Like all of Sacha Baron Cohen`s comedies, The Dictator is irreverent, offensive, and makes fun of pretty much every stereotype out there. He had huge success with Borat, a film I found extremely funny and smart, but the joke has gotten repetitive in his next films Bruno and this one. There are some hilarious moments in The Dictator, but there is also a lot of stupid and gross out jokes that made me want to stop watching at times. Cohen has gotten to the point where he needs to explore new themes and stop being so repetitive. He has proven he can make smart comedies with a sharp satirical tone; he makes fun of the crazy stereotypes our society has and despite making us laugh he also pulled our ears and made us think about our own conduct and behavior. In Borat he used this satire to the extreme, but it kind of has got lost in his latest films which try to entertain with cheaper and dirtier laughs. There are some great moments that work really well in The Dictator and had me laughing really hard so this movie wasn’t terrible either; it did have some genuinely funny moments. Like in Borat and Bruno, Cohen got Larry Charles to direct his latest film. I really was hoping this film would be funnier because the trailers looked great and the publicity behind it by Cohen was quite funny as well (who can forget the Ryan Seacrest incident during the Oscars where Cohen showed up in character as the dictator and dumped ashes on his suit?). I think it`s time for Sacha Baron Cohen to explore new themes because he has proven in the past to be a great comedian.

Hafez Aladeen (Sacha Baron Cohen) is the oppressive and wealthy dictator of the Republic of Wadiya (a made up Middle Eastern country). He rules the country with a very fierce hand and oppresses everyone. The film works as a satire of some of the Middle Eastern dictators we`ve all heard about in the news and Cohen got his inspiration for his character from all of them. But Cohen also makes fun of Americans and the stereotypes they have of the Arabs as well; this is best expressed in John C. Reilly`s character. Aladeen is forced to travel to the United States after being threatened by the United Nations for having a nuclear program. Along with his advisor and uncle Tamir (Ben Kingsley) they arrive in New York the day before the meeting, but what Aladeen doesn’t know is that Tamir has other plans for him. He has brought a Dictator look alike and is planning on killing Aladeen and having the imitator take his place and announce that he will change the constitution of his nation and bring back democracy to the people of Wadiya. Meanwhile Aladeen is taken hostage by Reilly`s character who begins to torture him. The first thing he does is cut off his supreme beard, but Aladeen manages to escape after a freak accident. Aladeen arrives outside of the building but no one recognizes him as his imitator has already taken his place. He is surrounded by protestors and one of them, Zoey (Anna Faris), decides to help him and take him in. For the first time in his life, Aladeen can`t have things his way and a series of comedic events ensue.

There are several funny moments in this film and some great lines, but for the most part the film goes way too far with several gross out jokes. I really enjoyed the helicopter scene where Cohen`s character is talking to his friend in his own language while two senior Americans are sitting in front of them worried about what they are saying since all they can make out are words like 911, Osama, Empire State Building, and Statue of Liberty. This scene was hilarious and had me laughing really hard, but it is about the only memorable moment I can rescue from the movie. There are some funny lines like when the dictator is helping a woman give birth and tells her the terrible news that the baby is a girl. The film makes fun of a lot of these stereotypes where women aren`t considered very important in Arab culture. Sacha Baron Cohen is very irreverent and offensive; he has no problem in expressing what he thinks. He doesn’t hold back anything and says things how they are. In my opinion this is what made him such a successful comedian, but at the same time he can also take things to an extreme and gross fans out due to the crude and explicitness of his jokes. I`d recommend this only to fans of Cohen who aren't scared off by his humor.

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