Sacha Baron Cohen of "Borat," "Bruno" and Ali G fame has created a new character in "The Dictator" who is the brutal and moronic head of a fictional country who finds himself lost in New York City. NY1's Neil Rosen filed the following review.
Sacha Baron Cohen, the same man who created the hilarious "Borat" as well as "Ali G" and "Bruno" has a new character with a new comedy, "The Dictator."
Cohen plays a dictator named Omar Aladeen who's sort of a composite of Saddam Hussein and Moammar Gadhafi. He's the brutal and also idiotic head of a fictional country called Wadiya that's rich in oil. He's also scaring the world as he's developing nuclear weapons. Aladeen calls for the execution of any countryman who disagrees with him. But he's also a lonely man who's looking for love.
On a trip to the United Nations, he arrives in New York ready to shake up the General Assembly with outrageous statements. But his top aide, played by Ben Kingsley, switches Aladeen with a body double and the real Aladeen is shaved and thrown out on the street, forced to live in New York anonymously.
Without the power of the throne, a lot of the comedy is derived from this "fish out of water" premise as Aladeen schemes to get back to to power.
The movie is mainly satirical and it's also a romantic comedy, as Aladeen takes up with a vegan feminist played by Anna Faris.
For the most part, the movie, which was co-written by Cohen and directed by Larry Charles, sadly misses the mark. There are a lot of jokes here, most of them pretty silly and only a small percentage hit the mark.
The satire is not that bold and some of the jokes are belabored. Fans looking for the same genius that was exhibited in "Borat" will be disappointed. Bottom line, I didn't laugh as much as I wanted to.
But that's not to say that there aren't any bright spots. In fact, a monologue at the end of the movie is actually sort of brilliant. Don't worry, I won't reveal any spoilers. Let's just say that it's a pointed swipe at the state of political corruption in America today and it's so good, it's almost worth the price of admission.
Neil Rosen's Big Apple Rating Scale: 2 Apples