Reel Shorts | The Dictator

16 05 2012

The heroic story of a dictator who risks his life to ensure that democracy would never come to the country he so lovingly oppressed, the irrepressible Sasha Baron Cohen is The Dictator.

In the past five years across the globe, long-serving dictators have been removed from office, which has come to the attention of comedian Cohen whose latest film is this surprisingly funny but brash, uncomfortable and politically incorrect comedy. Cohen stars as Admiral General Aladeen, a dictator from the fictional North African country of the Republic of Wadiya. His dictator is enjoys practical jokes and also a childish, lecherous, anti-western and antisemitic despot who surrounds himself with female bodyguards who is kidnapped and replaced by his traitorous uncle, Tamier (Ben Kingsley) and must try to regain his throne with the help of a former adversary turned friend, Nadal (the incredibly funny Jason Mantzoukas) and his love interest, activist Zoey (Anna Farris). Directed by Larry Charles, who also helmed Borat and Bruno, the auteur and his star revel in how offensive and crass Aladeen can be.

While I’m not a big fan of Baron Cohen, even a cynic must admit that despite the usual high level of tastelessness, there were plenty of jokes that hit the mark. One great example was a scene discussing about another wearing the trendy shoes, Crocs. “Crocs are the symbol of a man who has given up hope. You might as well put on some sweatpants and go to Applebees!”

For all of the winning moments in the film, there certainly are some low including the decapitation of a corpse at a funeral, and extended jokes with the severed head. While I still remain unconverted, The Dictator is the summer’s funniest comedy, warts and all!

Grade: C+                                                            

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