May 13, 2012

The Reel Scene~Reviews by Joe Cotugno

Production year: 2012
Director: Larry Charles
Cast: Anna Faris, John C. Reilly, Megan Fox, Sacha Baron Cohen, Sir Ben Kingsley
Running time: 1hr 23 mins
Rating: R

Sacha Baron Cohen’s ( Borat, Bruno) latest satirical comedy follows North African Supreme Leader General Aladeen (Cohen), a the ruthlessly self-absorbed, democracy-hating dictator determined to continue his rein over his oppressed oil-rich country of Wadiya.

Aladeen’s obsession for nuclear intimidation is infuriated by his country’s current underwhelming phallic shaped nuclear missile claiming “it needs to be pointier.”

Invasion threats by the US after learning of Wadiya’s quest for nuclear weaponry and domination forces Aladeen’s hand, which compels him to visit New York City to explain himself before the UN.

During his visit Aladeen is amused and annoyed by western culture, especially the inflated cost of his hotel’s mini-bar and wi-fi.

After having his beard shaved off by an inadequate and overly sensitive assassin played by John C. Reilly, Aladenn becomes anonymous and penniless and finds himself being unwittingly protected by a vegan-themed café owner.

Supported by talented co-stars including Ben Kingsley and Anna Faris and many amusing cameos, Cohen has a good time pushing the envelop of political hypocrisy, laughing along with us at the sometimes absurdity of our world leaders. 
Reminiscent of Cohen’s 2006 fish-out-of-water comedy “Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan” (but not as funny) “The Dictator” does have plenty of hilarious moments of uncomfortable political (yet topical) humor such as his frustration of having to keep Osama Bin Laden hidden in one of his guest rooms. 

Coming in at a satisfying  93 minutes, “The Dictator” (written by Cohen)  is an absurdly amusing, decidedly offensive romp, typical of Cohen’s previous films. It was, for the most part (with the exception of a foolish birthing/cell phone scene) “The Dictator” is enjoyable with many humorous moments and uncomplicated punch lines. For fans of his sense of humor, you get what you expect. For anyone unfamiliar with his previous work, it's best to check your sensitivity at the door.

May 2012

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