Whatever can be said of Sacha Baron Cohen he certainly enjoys taking risks. ‘Borat’ and ‘Bruno’ proved his fearlessness in rebelling against conformity with their ‘take no prisoners’ style of humour gaining many fans. ‘The Dictator’ is his fourth solo cinematic venture relying on his brand of comedy. Whilst different to his previous works due to having an actual script and surrounded by actors, it has the same level of comedic courage gaining him much notoriety.
Visiting America to speak at the United Nations, Admiral General Aladeen (Sacha Baron Cohen) is on a mission. Determined to show the world how he became such a powerful ruler of an Eastern bloc country the self-described Dictator gets more than he bargains for. Suddenly captured and forced to live among Americans, he discovers first-hand the many facets of a country he despises.
It can hardly be said ‘The Dictator’ is the epitome of high-brow wit. Revelling in its crudity and general vulgarity Baron Cohen knows not to be too clever with his comedy. There are some moments of inspiration where he gleefully attacks various Americanisms although these are far and few between. ‘The Dictator’ purely exists as a vehicle for his ad-libbing skills with random sequences seemingly done on the hoof with little time taken to make them funny.
Perhaps it would have been better had Cohen gone for the ‘Borat’ style of comedy with its element of surprise. There’s hardly any in his latest venture with some scenes extended beyond their natural life. These elongated sequences make proceedings seem longer than its short running time. His co-stars such as Ben Kingsley and Anna Farris do what they can to make things work. Unfortunately the predictable story and ham-fisted direction work against an initially good premise.
Comedy can be subjective and people may enjoy ‘The Dictator’. When such movies rely on bodily function gags for comedy then you know something is amiss with this effort being less divine comedy and more comedic chaos.
Rating out of 10: 2