Sacha Baron Cohen is a name you may be familiar with. He has a successful film career with productions such as Borat and Bruno in his filmography. General Aladeen is his latest and arguably most controversial character. In the past year dictators have been the hot topic of news due to the deaths of many such as Kim Jong-il of North Korea. “Distasteful” may be just one of the comments surrounding the controversy regarding Cohen’s characters; this is no exception…
Aladeen loses his iconic look whilst on a requested trip to the United States to address the United Nations regarding his research and development in nuclear warheads. A simple and relevant plot that leads to a dictator experiencing democracy and the real world. After bumping in to Zoey (Anna Faris), ”Justin Bieber’s chubby twin”, he soon begins to grasp the concept of both humanity and love. This sub-plot serves as a narrative journey but what lies on top is a constant stream of non politically correct jokes and references that can come across as unsavoury, but on the whole prove widely humorous.
If you came across any of Aladeen’s press interviews, perhaps you share my opinion in describing them as mildly amusing but lacking any substantial material. This is reflected throughout the film and is fairly disappointing. It is enough to get you grinning at least. The surprising factor that you’ll eventually pick up on, is how The Dictator mocks our current system and condemns all the corruption surrounding it, like the recent phone hacking scandal. You could find yourself sitting at the back giggling quietly while these references go over the top of everyone else’s heads. Without picking up on them Aladeen’s speeches will just be a long and boring part of dialogue.
The Dictator possesses the same charm and impurity as Bruno and Borat combined. The format of a fully scripted film may not appeal to as many of his fans who enjoyed Cohen’s previous reality show type films, but the jokes are equally crude and offensive. All performances are done to a high degree, but ultimately Sacha Baron Cohen’s manufactured dictator won’t provide the same satisfaction that his previous work has. The list is shortening for his takes on stereotypes, but let’s hope he can up his game next time round!