Sacha Baron Cohen is one of those writer/actors that most people either love or hate. I happen to love him. Borat was hilarious, and I didn’t think Bruno was very far off (a lot of people hate that one). In his most recent film, The Dictator, he plays Admiral General Aladeen, the leader of a fictitious middle eastern nation called Wadiya.
Minor plot spoilers below. By minor I mean if you didn’t figure it out from the trailers shame on you.
In what seems like a reprisal of his evil uncle role from Prince of Persia, Ben Kingsley plays Tamir, the uncle who wants power for himself. He has Aladeen kidnapped and de-bearded(not his intention). He then has a simple and controllable double pretend to be Aladeen so he can pull all the strings. Aladeen has to enlist the help of a neo-hippie grocery store owner and one of his former scientists that he had “executed” to retake his country before Tamir turns it into a democracy in order to profit from oil sales.
- It definitely has funny moments. A lot of them are mildly offensive, as is Cohen’s thing, but they’re funny nonetheless.
- Jason Mantzoukas (probably best known for playing Rafi in The League), who plays the nuclear scientist Nadal, is great as he usually is in oddball comedy scenarios.
- Aladeen’s speech towards the end about dictatorships and democracy. It’s so fantastic and easily the best scene in the movie.
- The rap song at the end was great. I need to see if that’s on iTunes.
- As I hinted at earlier the story reminds me of the Prince of Persia movie. That’s definitely a bad thing. It’s partially because of Kingsley playing a similar role, but it’s also partly because our ‘hero’ desires to return things to how they were at the beginning of the story.
- The story isn’t very good. Like I said, there are funny moments, but this isn’t a very good movie. The screenplay was written by four people, so maybe that’s why it feels unfocused. Even some of the jokes were cheesy and ridiculous. Why would someone have bricks in their pocket? Is this a Looney Tunes cartoon? It was also very short.
The Dictator was decent, but ultimately disappointing. I have been a fan of Sacha Baron Cohen’s brand of comedy since the Ali G days, and I can safely say this is only for really big fans of his. It just doesn’t have enough to make it worthwhile. The poor story and jokes that fall flat outweigh the good jokes and tarnish the entire experience. You should only see this if you’ve loved everything you’ve seen in the trailers.