Sacha Baron Cohen stars as General Aladeen - the ruthless dictator of
Wadiya. The country is full of oil, but Aladeen has no interest in
selling it. Instead, he has been putting every effort into building a
nuclear weapons program, and the United Nations is ready to stop him.
Aladeen decides to head to New York and address the U.N. General
Assembly, but, someone has been plotting against him. Once in the Big
Apple, he is kidnapped and replaced with a body double, who is supposed
to sign a new constitution giving unheard of rights and freedom to
Will Aladeen be able to stop the coup and save his country from freedom
Cohen may never be able to replicate the success of Borat,
but, luckily, The Dictator
is no Bruno.
In typical Cohen style, he constantly is pushing the envelope and
coming close to crossing the line, when he's not completely crossing
the line, jumping back across to the other side, then sliding across
the line again with some of the most biting humor around.
However, Cohen is an equal opportunity humorist attempting to reach out
to everyone and every taste. For some, satire is the highlight of The
Dictator as he skewers modern
figures, current events and ideas.
Yet, Cohen also can get as dirty, low brow and deep into the potty
humor as Adam Sandler on his naughtiest day. In that way, The
Dictator might appeal to many,
but it feels like half the audience is unhappy half the time, while the
other half is laughing uproariously half the time. I guess the surprise
part is finding out which half you belong to.
Cohen does make Aladeen into a very hilarious character, and that's
what keeps the movie interesting and entertaining. It's not easy to
make a bloodthirsty dictator into a comical figure (just ask Charlie
Chaplin), but the actor turns Aladeen into a buffoonish loser, so his
tendencies are viewed as comical instead of threatening. While every
joke might not be gold, the funny man gives it everything he has to
sell the joke and gets some laughs from his own efforts more than the
quality of the material.
I think Cohen often gives his best work in other people's productions (Sweeney
but it's nice to see him develop a new character every now and then.
Dictator is rated R for strong crude and sexual content, brief male
nudity, language and some violent images.