Wednesday, May 16, 2012

THE DICTATOR: The Film Babble Blog Review

THE DICTATOR (Dir. Larry Charles, 2012)

In their newest film, Sacha Baron Cohen and director Larry Charles don’t push the envelope; they poop all over it.

Discarding the mockumentary format of their previous films, BORAT and 
BRÜNO, THE DICTATOR tells the story of Supreme Leader Aladeen, the rude crude ruler of the fictional North African nation of Wadiya.

We’ve seen the likes of this kind of character before - a power-mad tyrant who has anybody who disagrees with him killed - so many of the punch-lines are predictable, but Baron Cohen energetically milks every possible comic possibility available, and succeeds about half the time with getting laughs.

The other half of the time is extremely cringe-worthy. Disgusting bodily humor, gratuitous nudity (do we always have to see Baron Cohen’s junk?), and cheap smarmy dialogue (Baron Cohen calls co-star Anna Faris “Justin Bieber's chubby double” among other monikers), dominate THE DICTATOR, suggesting that its target audience is still in grade school.

After its setup in which Baron Cohen gets kidnapped and shaved (by a hitman played by John C. Reilly of all people) upon arriving in New York City, the movie largely becomes a fish-out-of-water premise. The dictator’s scheming uncle (Ben Kingsley!) replaces him with a dumb double (also Baron Cohen), so he bides his time working in Faris’s vegan food store, waiting for his chance to reclaim his title. So we get a lot of crass gags that the film makers really over sell. Especially when the movie riffs on rape jokes.

As Baron Cohen’s ally, Jason Mantzoukas has one of the most grounded roles, and some of the funniest parts are the bickering exchanges between the 2 characters.

With its mericifully brief 83 minute running time, THE DICTATOR moves fast from laugh to cringe, is cluttered with cameos (look for Megan Fox, Garry Shandling, various Saturday Night Live folks, etc.), and it has the right comedic spirit.

If only those appealing factors weren't overridden by the film's high quotient of gross-out groaners.

Baron Cohen's climatic U.N. speech would've had so much more satirical power had it not been surrounded by such juvenille scatalogical shenanigans. But then, these guys are, of course, more into poop jokes than making a pointed political parody - something THE DICTATOR would never be confused with.

More later...

1 comment:

buddy2blogger said...

Nice review of the movie.

Check out my review .