Sacha Baron Cohen in a Larry Charles film about how Americans are assholes playing a stereotype douche with funny hair and a dodgy accent?
I've gotta see this!
Yes it's that time again where the man dons a silly costume and sets out to effortlessly offend the entire planet. And you know what? The formula still (mostly) works! I'm doubtful that the team will ever reach the highs of Borat again, Bruno was already a step down, but this middle ground isn't too unpleasant so roll on with The Dictator.
This time, Cohen is dictator Aladeen, leader of made-up North African country Wadiya: he's got an impossible accent, a LOT of pubic hair, Megan Fox as only one of his many celebrity prostitutes, an anti-Jew Wii game, the list goes on. Nothing terribly new so far but it's a character we haven't seen before and he is more than appropriately goofy to stand proudly alongside Cohen's other creations.
The film sees Aladeen showing up in New York, where he is betrayed by right-hand man Ben Kingsley who replaces him with a double (a genius character himself) in order to sort out a deal with China which would bring some kind of democracy to Wadiya. Poor and beardless, Aladeen is taken in by Anna Faris' feminist health-food store owner, he falls for her and plots his revenge.
Familiarity-aside, The Dictator does succeed where Ali G Indahouse failed: it works as a comedy without aiming for a documentary-style look. It also manages to be genuinely quite funny in places. Oh it's completely hit-and-miss with 50% of the gags falling flat but when it works, it works really well. After all, Charlie Chaplin's The Great Dictator was hardly a laugh-a-minute affair but occasionally flashes of genius would make it all worthwhile. This is kinda like that but, of course, Cohen is no Chaplin so on a lesser level. It's a decent satire and a good comedy just... not great.
Overall, The Dictator is on a par with Bruno, perhaps even a little better, but it's no Borat. Occasionally it gets pretty lolgasmic but a lot of the time you'll just be wishing Anna Faris wasn't there and making up better jokes in your head.
Fun but no classic.