REVIEW: The Dictator

Following the experiences of Borat in 2006 and Bruno in 2009, any mockumentary involving Sacha Baron Cohen will either become a huge controversial offense to specific viewers or turn out to be just a traditional laugh out loud comedy. Once again, Baron Cohen decides to mock another social class of individuals which could become the most insulting so far. Although, there were still the few abusive jokes of racism, sexism and other real-life issues added onto the screen and amongst its fair share of flaws, The Dictator was still funny for what it is and did exceptionally well as a comedy that is still enjoyable and entertaining to watch.

Director Larry Charles reunites with Sacha Baron Cohen for the third consecutive time as the director of The Dictator. As predicted, he adds the same type of on-running gags and laughs that we have seen before but on occasions; there were the odd moments of complete and utter shock. Furthermore, it is still the meaningless and crazy story that we all expected it to be. However, The Dictator, unlike Bruno andBorat, was not filmed in a documentary-style format. Therefore, it had a traditional story to it with a protagonist, antagonist and love interest. The work from Larry Charles and Sacha Baron Cohen will slowly fade due to repetition but the more ideas that they come up with, the longer the entertainment will last.

Sacha Baron Cohen is truly a very brave special actor. Not only because he risks his reputation as a person to mock specific social classes or make fun of certain world events, but because in the films he stars in, he is both an actor to find hilarious and to take very seriously. Furthermore, he takes the film entirely as his own and, thus, steals the show. Baron Cohen’s latest character Admiral General Aladeen can quite easily be seen as an offense to specific viewers but if there is anybody that appears to be an insult to a culture but can still be hilariously funny about it, it can only be Sacha Baron Cohen. Therefore for this reason, you really are not sure whether to take this General Aladeen really seriously or as some sort of on-screen prank. What you see is what you get with Baron Cohen in this role and although he doesn’t quite connect to the character as firmly as he did portraying Borat and Bruno, he stills gives another hilarious performance in The Dictator.

As we witnessed in previous Charles-Baron Cohen works, certain Hollywood actors have made cameos only as themselves. However, The Dictator goes somewhere a little different this time as Hollywood actors, apart from Sacha, actually have a role in the film as opposed to very brief appearances. First, there is Anna Faris who portrayed co-op manager and activist Zoey, who gradually becomes a love interest for Aladeen. This is where The Dictator is flawed as a subplot was introduced – a forbidden romance between Aladeen and Zoey. Unfortunately, it really did not work in this film as there was no emotional and genuinely heartfelt connection between them and she was needlessly there on the screen. In fact, she did not even have to be part of the film at all. A bit more sophistication was added into The Dictator as Oscar-winning actor Ben Kingsley performed as Aladeen’s treacherous uncle Tamir, the antagonist of the story, and John C. Reilly had a role as hitman Clayton. Furthermore, there were still the traditional cameo appearances from certain actors who portrayed themselves, such as Megan Fox and Edward Norton.

Overall, The Dictator is yet another humorous, successful comedy from Baron Cohen and Charles that is nothing to take seriously, but is still an enjoyable delight. It was not quite as shocking or as funny as Borat or Bruno but it is still gives exactly what you would expect from it. Of what is featured in the film (characters, story) is nothing to take seriously. It only depends on how the viewers respond to it. Nevertheless, if you are in the right frame of mind, have the right sense of humour to watch it and have enjoyed Sacha Baron Cohen and Larry Charles’ past works, then you will get enjoyment from this that could become your guilty pleasure.

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~ by SJMJ91 on 28/06/2012.

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