Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Dictator

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic!

The Dictator - 4 out of 5

I'm not going to try and give my usual summary of this movie.  Instead, I'm going to give the synopsis the studio gave for this one because it's hilarious and better than anything my feeble mind can come up with...The Dictator is "the heroic story of a dictator who risks his life to ensure that democracy would never come to the country he so lovingly oppressed."

That's is poetry!

That reminds me, I need shorter shorts for when I'm running.

I'm just going to glance over the fact that Ben Kingsley
clearly doesn't care about having a respectable dramatic
career anymore...but we knew that when he did The Love Guru.
I'm a big fan of Sacha Baron Cohen.  Ever since I was first exposed to Da Ali G Show I found a unique--and often offensive--new brand of comedy.  I fell in love with the characters of Ali G, Borat and Bruno and was very excited when each got their own respective movie (although the Ali G one was a big let down).  However, when each film came to its end, I questioned if Cohen could have a career outside his usual format of inserting his eccentric characters into the real world--especially since everyone was wise to his game.  Sure, he got some roles in the likes of Madagascar and Hugo but could a mixing of a scripted comedy and Cohen's familiar comedic stylings come together for The Dictator?

In a word...yes.

Review over.

Why can't this greeting take hold in America?

Just kidding.  While The Dictator is not Sacha Baron Cohen's greatest work (or funniest) it's still a fun movie that pokes fun at vile subjects like disrespecting women, rape, violence, homophobia and racism by presenting it in an ironic way, showcasing it in such an over-the-top manner that you can't help but either be offended by it or laugh your rear end off at it....basically you're usual Sacha Baron Cohen stuff.

So there's a joke in the film that the Dictator sleeps with Megan Fox and gives her you now it's fictional because it would have been HER giving it to HIM.

After an attempt is made on the life of the oppressive dictator of the fictional North African Republic of Wadiya, Admiral General Aladeen is forced to try and stop his vindictive Uncle Tamir (Ben Kingsley) who set up an imposter to bring democracy to the Republic in order for its borders to be opened for oilmen to come and drill, baby, drill.

John C. Reilly's presence in the film is short but one of the most memorable bits.

Aladeen must team together with a hairy aimpit hippie (Anna Faris) and his former head of nuclear weapons (and procurer of women)--who Aladeen thought he had executed--Nadal (Jason Mantzoukas) in an effort to thwart the evil plan of bringing democracy to the people Aladeen loves to oppress.

Even as a dirty hippie, Anna Faris is still very adorable.

At first I was like...
While not as funny as Borat or Bruno, The Dictator offers up a lot of laughs through its offensive humor and sharp satire on current dictators (the film is, amusingly, dedicated to the deceased Kim Jong-il) and American democracy.  Cohen even utilized some of his signature "hidden camera" work as he puts Aladeen on the streets of New York, reminiscent of of what made him popular to begin with.

Then I was like...
Often offensive and very immature, The Dictator isn't to bad.  The story feels short as some strands of story are either left hanging in the wind or are wrapped up within the credits and some gags feel tiresome and tacked on--for example, Aladeen's anti-Semitic attitude is too Borat-like and although it may make Mel Gibson fall in love with the film (the irony, of course, being lost on him) it felt too much like a recycled joke--but overall, the movie is genuinely entertaining.  The character of Aladeen is fantastic and is just as good as his past characters the man has created.  Even being considered one of Cohen's most mediocre attempts at writing, it's still heads and shoulders above 90% of the produced crap comedies Hollywood churns out as for every weak joke this movie has, it has over a dozen of creative, witty and brilliant once going with it.  Which is a better ratio of bad to good jokes that we see in most comedies nowadays.  Mostly what we get today is one weak joke for every weak joke.

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