The Dictator (2012)
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The comedy in this movie is both hilarious and uncomfortable at times. It has the same LOL- quality as it did in Borat, but there are scenes where the comedy is so crude that it is almost uncomfortable watching/listening to it. The movie is definitely funny, but you will not enjoy it if you do not find jokes about racism and stereotypes funny.
The plot is your typical Sacha Baron Cohen plot; a person from an entirely different culture travels to America and you watch how incompatible the two cultures are. Also, just like most of Sacha Baron Cohen movies, there is a love story intertwined. It's not the dramatic and sensitive kind of love story though. The plot itself is not very immersive, and I believe that its only purpose is to lead you to the funny parts.
I will say this though, the ending speech of this movie given by 'The Dictator' really impressed me. It made me realize how well Sacha Baron Cohen understands politics and stereotypes. You have to hear it for yourself.
If you're looking for a movie with consistent but crude laugh-out-loud comedy, but do not look for a serious and powerful plot, then you will enjoy this film. On the other hand, if you cringe at racist and stereotype jokes, you will be covering your ears virtually the entire movie.
Approach with an open mind.
Basically, if you're easily offended, you probably won't want to watch the tale of an evil Middle Eastern Dictator who finds himself lost in America amidst a plot to oust him from power.
However, there are still plenty of people who find this sort of humour funny (and I'm one of them). Personally, I didn't think it was as good as Borat or Bruno as the second half seemed a bit forced. The film lasted just under the typical hour and a half mark, but probably could have got away with being an hour long. It would probably have been a pretty funny hour - if you like that sort of thing.
The major criticisms being thrown at The Dictator is claims of racism (just like Borat and Ali G, not to mention claims of homophobia at Bruno) and whether the film mocks Middle Eastern stereotypes, or whether it actually attacks those who impose the stereotypes. The film has also come under fire for being too 'pro-Jew' too anti-American and generally too liberal. Maybe that's true, maybe it's not. It's one of those arguments where if you're looking to use this film to support or challenge your own political viewpoint or religious beliefs there are arguments for and against.
The bottom line is that it's quite funny. Quite. Not as good as Borat or Bruno, but still there are plenty of silly and vulgar (and I should emphasis the words 'silly' and 'vulgar' because they're the backbone of this film) moments to make you laugh out loud. Probably not a classic, but entertaining nonetheless.
The film is quite pointy, it is for a moderate audience and will make all kinds of extremists quite unhappy. The plot is well thought out and funny. It'll nail you to the screen.
I like the unorthodox character of this film, Sacha Baron Cohen's movies are definitely one of the kind. I wouldn't consider the humor crude, but it is certainly honest. Some of the unthinkable things you see are likely to have happened in reality.
I'm glad this movie headed in a different direction from his previous efforts. Had the film continued in the same fashion as the reality TV way, then I don't think it would have stood any chance of working, not with this new character anyway. So to those who are expecting and hoping for something similar to Bruno and Borat you may be left a little disappointed, but for those who wouldn't mind seeing something slightly different, and can take a movie for what it is, then you should enjoy this, as I did.
Like Cohen, Allen's first films were often misunderstood. Some folks just did not get the joke. Many still don't get it today. The object of comedy has always been to take down the high and mighty by whatever means necessary. And, if you happen to be a Middle Eastern despot, you will find much to be offended by here. But, as Allen often did as well, Cohen uses racial and gender stereotypes to shine a light on people's attitudes, and that's likely to put off others as well. That's fine. Some comedy just isn't for everyone.
While his writing style owes much to Allen, his acting chops are also influenced heavily by one of Britain's greatest comics, Peter Sellers. You can see it in his outrageous accents and in his ridiculous pratfalls. Like Sellers, Cohen is fearless in his characterizations and, again, like Sellers, there will be those who will take offense in this. Again, not for everyone. But, if you laughed your butt off at Sellers' simpleton Indian character destroying a Hollywood party, you will be laughing here too.
And that's what we're talking about; laughs. Not every joke works. Many fall flat. But the film starts off fast and furious with a rapid succession of gags, most of which work hilariously, settles down for a bit and then takes off again, literally. His verbal sparring with co-star Jason Mantzoukas is one of the highlights as are many of the fun cameo appearances and a running joke about his name that I will not reveal here. There are many great sight gags that are easily missed and the appearance of his Efawadh character at the U.N. channels a scene right out of Allen's "Sleeper." There's a few scatological and sex jokes also (one about excrement, one about urination, one about masturbation, several about body parts), and these, if you ask me, are the low point of the film (except a child birth scene that's as funny as it is outrageous). But, the bodily fluid gags, so rampant in comedy films today, are actually few and far between. And there's a bit of a message, too.
We're not dealing with "Citizen Kane" here. But, then, this film made me laugh much more.
As expected from Sacha's previous outings and trailers, this film is in extremely bad taste with plenty of filth, blatant offence (disguised as naivety) of every race, gender, age, animal, disability, sexual orientations, terrorism and politics. Sacha gets away with it because no one is left out. No one, including white folks and straight men. Actually, I lie. I don't know how the hell he gets away with it. The important question is, though, is it funny? Yeah...mostly.
There are enough roll in the isle moments to make this worth the ticket but there are also plenty of misfired jokes too, some of which really makes you groan but that's to be expected for a relentless joke firing machine which incidentally has (perhaps mercifully) a short run time of 84mins.
Another burning question I ask myself, while watching this is do I feel guilty laughing at some of the offencive jokes? Yes I do, my guilty conscience raises its ugly head but then I realise (or perhaps I'm just making excuses) that I am laughing at the Dictator's naivety and hilarious sense of misplaced morality while others around him frown at his demeanours.
This is a departure from the Borat, Ali G, and Bruno stable. With those previous films, real people are sought after and ridiculed by scrutinising their reactions and moral bases. This film, however is purely fictitious, Naked Gun style comedy very much similar to Eddie Murphy's Coming to America with obviously a lot lot less subtlety. However, Sacha's Dictator has pretty much the same political correctness that Borat has but with more hilarious Dictatorship cravings such as executing anyone that annoys him.
A good supporting cast thankfully gives this zany film a little bit more variety, particularly Anna Francis, comically playing off the Dictator's character who frankly dominates almost every frame (as I guess a dictator would). John C Reilly also gives a short but hilarious turn. And then there are a few special cameo celebrity guest appearances (or victims, rather) sprinkled around.
There are a couple of moments political satire that stands out in hilarity and I wish there was more of it. Alas, it seems vulgarity is more favoured.
So if you have no guilty conscience, welcome vulgarity and all things "un-pc" with open arms, do not despise Sacha Cohen Baron and are willing to kiss his armpits (last one is optional), then I reckon you will enjoy this film. For me, filthy films are not my normal cup of tea, nevertheless I did enjoy this but I need a long shower after watching it.
The dictator was non of that. It had brief funny bits in, that were really obvious as well, throughout the film. I was so disappointed as the trailer looked funny and being an avid fan could not wait for the release. But like i say, it wasn't, it was just obvious lets make quick money Hollywood nonsense that so many films seem to be these days.
I actually started to think, "is it me, am I getting too old for this sort of stuff?". I'm 48 and went to see the film with my 20 year old sons who also thought the film was rubbish!!
What is it with so many films these days that they seem to of lost all sense of character? I love a film, I love a good comedy, but I haven't seen anything decent in a long time because there always seems to be something missing or lacking from the the films these days. Has all the writers run out of ideas, or has everything just been done to death now?
Get your act together Sacha, you know your better than this Hollywood bulls**t, don't let those idiots ruin what and who you are!!
That's the truth right there pal, despite all the hype I bet you agree with my comments!!
I never thought I'd see the day where I actually turned OFF a Sacha Baron Cohen film but I couldn't bear to waste anymore of my life watching this terrible excuse of a 'comedy.' His previous characters were all funny because of the raw humour and the way they took the p*ss out of all the right people in a very clever way. The Dictator however doesn't.
The film is full of dud jokes and desperate attempts to be funny. It fails.
I work in the film industry and know people that have worked with Sacha Baron Cohen. They say he has become a 'diva' and treats crew and behind the scenes staff with total disrespect. Unfortunately it seems as if the man has become a victim of his own success.
If the fame and money has gone to his head maybe he should use that money to retire early and spend time with his family. If he makes another shocking (for all the wrong reasons) film like The Dictator again he will destroy all the good work he has done with previous films / shows / characters.
This Sasha guy needs to look up the word, "subtlety" before he goes and makes another one of these stupid films again.
Sacha Baron Cohen's reality-style comedies work because the audience is either cringing in sympathy for his unwitting victims or wincing in revulsion at the lengths he will go to for a laugh. His willingness to push boundaries in these films is what makes them entertaining, but in a scripted comedy, Cohen's utterly unsubtle sense of humour comes off as crass, lazy and cheap.
Anna Faris's character epitomises everything that is wrong with The Dictator. She's a political activist that works in a non-profit feminist vegan health food democratically run co-operative shop who doesn't shave her armpits. She's a caricature of a kind you would expect to find in a formula spoof movie. It just isn't funny.
Cohen is brilliant as Ali G, Borat and Bruno, but he's terrible in scripted comedy. There were plenty of scenes that tried to shock the audience and make them feel disgusted. But the jokes were just not funny. The actors were irritating to watch. I still can't believe that Cohen made this one. Cohen's talent is for improvised comedy. He should stick to that.
There were one or two amusing instances. Not enough though. The dialogue was poor. 90% of this movie filled me with disgust. It was racist, meaningless, with had very little to recommend it. Something has happened to Sascha. He used to take risks in all the other movies he made. This movie is studio material and not really made as a documentary. Does he think he is being dangerous by insulting everything and everyone? I don't think so.
SBC. get your act together. I wish I had read some of the more thoughtful reviews before watching. So glad I did not actually buy this movie (I bought Borat), and still find it a killer.
The Dictator theme had great potential, but it died in about the first five minutes of dialogue.
The cameos made by Anna Faris and Sir Ben Kingsley just don't even matter. This movie is so sub par on so many levels. I don't care if i'm sounding bias. It was just stupid to have to sit through. The comedy i was just not feeling and that's very sad. I think the humour was overly crude even for Sasha Cohen standards.
I was over 30 when I saw 'Borat', thought it was wild and I laughed a lot watching it. 'The Dictator' is just cheesy and bad. Waste of time. The fact that title of this film is close to Chaplin's 'The Great Dictator' almost gives me a headache.
Acting is clumsy, jokes are childish, timing is terrible, looks cheap, plot is a big cliché... almost everything in this movie sucks. MC Rai's version of REM's Everybody Hurts is the only exception, but obviously one track in the soundtrack just can't save the film.
1/10 stars. That bad.
The last movie I saw staring Sacha Baron Cohen was "Hugo" which was one of the 5 best movies I have ever seen in my life.
I wasn't expecting "The Doctator" to be as good as Hugo, but I was expecting it to at least be reasonable quality and funny. I'm afraid I was sorely disappointed on both counts.
There were very few funny moments. The quality of acting, especially from Sacha Baron Cohen (who plays the lead character) is horrendously poor.
The main character is pathetically shallow and poorly thought through, and behaves in ways which are inexplicable throughout the movie.
The whole plot seems to have been thrown together very quickly and with little thought.
It's a shame because I know Sacha Baron Cohen can do much better than this, and the idea of a vicious dictator finding himself having to interact with ordinary Americans has the potential to make a very very funny movie. Unfortunately this potential has gone completely unfulfilled.
Having said all this, if you liked "Borat" you might well like "The Dictator".
And yes, I like watching documentaries with a ducks... like Nuclear Nadal has pointed out...before his "execution" 8)