Cert: 15 Runtime: 83 mins Director: Larry Charles Starring: Sacha Baron Cohen,Anna Faris, John C.Reilly and Ben Kingsley
You two make a cute couple. But could you do this later? When you’re not elbow deep in my vagina?
When Ali G came out, Sacha Baron Cohen was nobody. Now after Ali G, Borat and Bruno he returns with his new character The Dictator. After a very long advertising campaign including The Oscars(Ryan Seacrest) and ended up in Cannes. The public expect a new non stop comedy from the King of shock. Admiral General Aladeen (Sacha Baron Cohen), ruler and dictator of the African Republic of Wadiya. After being threatened by the rest of the world to stop oppressing his people, Aladeen travels to the United States to speak to the United Nations. But he is forced into a life of American mediocrity when his right-hand man Tamir (Ben Kingsley) attempts to murder and replace him. Aladeen now has to rise back to power and stop his beloved country from becoming a democracy.I think Cohen is a very talented comedian. He does a great job in every movie I’ve ever seen him in, no matter how bad the movie itself is. But he’s one of those people who is only able to deliver other people’s lines well. His own material, for the most part from what I’ve seen, just doesn’t work and is not funny. It especially doesn’t work in a standard comedy format like this. The reason Borat worked was because it was a mockumentary. The jokes work most of the time because the people are reacting to real situations, and when it is staged they kept to the same film style and at least faked it well. Here it’s just lazy, unfunny improv wrapped around a very thin plot.
This movie wants so desperately to offend, but because of how desperate it is being, and because we’ve already seen this done a million times (by Cohen himself even), it just doesn’t work. It backfires and feels as desperate as it is, like they weren’t trying as hard to make funny jokes but just say offensive things. There are several moments where lines come out of nowhere, without anybody’s lips moving. It’s incredibly obvious when they just dubbed in a quick joke, none of which ever work. There’s a reel of lines and scenes they didn’t go with that play during the credits and none of them are any funnier than the material they actually used, leading me to believe they just didn’t come up with very good material. And it’s kind of hard to come up with material when its on the spot like that, which is one of the reasons I’m slowly coming to really hate improv artists.I can’t think of anything about this movie that works, really. I think Anna Faris, who played Zoey, a woman Aladeen befriends in New York, is just as good as she ever is. That isn’t to say she got any good jokes though. I like Faris, but she has nothing here. Nobody does. Chris Parnell shows up in this as a news anchor and I like him too but his scenes in this movie are just worthless. In fact, there are a number of scenes in the movie that have absolutely no reason to exist and jokes that just go nowhere. I do recall, early on, chuckling at a couple of things. I can’t for the life of me remember what they were now, but I do remember it happened. After that though, I just couldn’t wait to get out of the theater. The only reason I don’t hate it is because it doesn’t deserve my hate.