It’s not often that a satirical film with an exorbitant amount of absurdist humor manages to hold my attention for 83 minutes, but Sacha Baron Cohen’s “The Dictator” unexpectedly managed to do just that. I knew this movie was racist, odious, bizarre, and just all out wrong, but I cannot deny that fact that somehow the director, Larry Charles, manages to make this all work.

At the axis of this film is the dictator of the fictional North African “Republic of Wadiya,” is the foolhardy, malevolent Admiral General Aladeen (Sacha Baron Cohen), who is rolling around in Scrooge McDuck type money (so much so that he beds Megan Fox and other celebs on a regular basis, drives around in solid gold humvees and host his own Olympic games, in which he wins 16 Gold medals). This inordinate wealth he possesses also allows him to pursue his nuclear ambitions, which gets him in trouble with the international community, which doubts his peaceful motivations for processing weapons grade uranium (even though he assured them he’d only be using it for clean energy……). He is then advised by his brother and second in command, Tamir (Ben Kingsly), to address the U.N. in New York.

Once he lands in the United States is when the true fish-out-of-water humor begins (not to say he was quite normal in his home country either). Treachery is afoot the night before he is to give his address, which leaves him without his “great beard” and looking like a homeless person, while his detractor has preplaced him with his double, who happens to be even more of a dunce than Aladeen.

Finding himself impecunious and destitute, Aladeen is helped out by the ultra-femenist, humanist, vegan shop owner Zoey (Anna Faris) who is the only person that offers him any help whatsoever. Aladeen also manages to find his old friend/head nuclear Scientist Nuclear Nadal (Jason Mantzoukas), whom he tried to execute, and enlists his help to get back into power.

Now then, enough about the plot. What “The Dictator” has managed to, quite skillfully, avoid many of the pitfalls similar ludicrous comedies are victim to. Movies that rely heavily on ludicrous humor and just one tiny idea to carry a movie, quite often, fall completely flat. These movies tend to drag on past the introduction of a novel plot point, and never quite manage to find their feet, kind of like “Don’t mess with the Zohan.” The most brilliant thing about “The Dictator” was that it managed to get the pacing right, never seeming to drag on, even though I was prepared for it to do just that. The jokes in this film were so disgustingly offensive in every way that they somehow managed to go full circle and become amazingly hilarious! There were several laugh-out-loud moments throughout this movie, but on occasion the jokes seemed forced and fell flat on their face, granted these moments were few and far between.

With this film, Cohen moves away from the mockumentary format he utilized with “Borat” and “Bruno”, and has returned to deliver a movie more in the vein of “Ali G in Da House.” “The Dictator” has a multitude of amazing comedic performances in the talented hands of Sacha Baron Cohen Sir Ben Kingsley, John C. Reilly, Jason Mantzoukas, Anna Faris, Bobby Lee and rest of the crew. This film never stops being funny and never lags at all, it can veer into disgusting and unfunny at times, but before you even have time to notice, it finds its feet and is back on track. This movie won’t be winning any Oscars, but is a solid comedy which I highly recommend.


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