Starring: Sacha Baron Cohen, Ben Kingsley, Anna Faris
Written By: Sacha Baron Cohen, Jeff Schaffer, Alec Berg, David Mandel
Directed By: Larry Charles
Studio: Paramount Pictures
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Sacha Baron Cohen is known for his outrageous, improvised characters but this time he stars in a comedy he wrote that is mostly scripted. The Dictator has it’s funny moments but it’s not as funny as his cringey humor he imposes on strangers.
The Dictator is about Admiral General Aladeen (Sacha Baron Cohen), the dictator of the fictional Republic of Wadiya. Just picture Saddam Hussein, Kim Jong Il, and Gaddafi all rolled into one buffon dictator and you have Aladeen. He gets off having everyone executed, and loves to sleep with celebrities but deep down he’s a lonely man. United Nations Security Council threatens him and his country militarily, so he goes to the UN in New York City. Before he addresses the UN, his uncle has him kidnapped and stripped of his beard and titles. He tries to find a way to get back his dictatorship and gets some help from a short-haired, hairy armpit feminist (Anna Faris) who works in a health food store in Brooklyn. Even though she doesn’t know his true identity.
As a fan of Borat and Bruno, I was looking forward to seeing The Dictator. Regardless of script or not, Cohen usually delivers funny material. The movie has it’s fair share of funny moments and lines. I still think Cohen is better at doing mockumentaries but perhaps he’s too famous now for him to pull one over on the general public. There’s always the midwest and south though, they will believe anything.
The Dictator has sporadic laughs and is a good political satire but it’s not going to make everyone laugh. Some people will probably hate this comedy but I laughed at a lot of the jokes. Of course, like most comedies, some jokes do fall flat. I think this movie might have suffered a bit from trailer-itis where they showed a lot of the funny moments in the trailers. Scenes where he’s with Megan Fox or shooting people in the race, it just didn’t come across as funny when you see it in the movie. The Dictator could also be a movie like MacGruber where it gets funnier and funnier with every viewing so who knows. I’d have to see it again to see how I truly feel about this. I definitely still think it could have been a lot funnier in parts.
I’m not sure it was the uncut version that I saw, but some of the scenes were poorly edited or matted wrong. Like characters talking in a factory or something, and you can see where cut out the background and put something else in. Probably should have done a better job of that if you wanted to include that into the movie. That took me out of the scene at times but I know that’s just a nit-pick of mine.
For the Blu-Ray, you can see both the theatrical and uncut version of the movie, plus some deleted & extended scenes. Some of the deleted scenes were okay but other times I can see why they were cut. That section is about a half hour long, which is to be expected with a Sacha Baron Cohen movie.
The Dictator is silly, sporadically funny, political satire comedy that some people will hate and others will love. I didn’t hate the movie and thought it was pretty funny, but could have been a lot better.
Theatrical And Unrated Versions Of The Film
Deleted And Extended Scenes
Widescreen 1.78:1 Color
ENGLISH: DTS-HD MA 5.1
SPANISH: Dolby Digital 5.1
FRENCH: Dolby Digital 5.1
PORTUGUESE: Dolby Digital 5.1
English, Spanish, French, Portuguese
Bottom Line: Could have been better but still worth renting at least
Running Time: 98 mins