Bitesize Review: The Dictator (2012)

DIRECTOR: Larry Charles.

CAST: Sacha Baron Cohen, Anna Faris, Ben Kingsley, Jason Mantzoukas.

SYNOPSIS: General Aladeen of Wadiya is a power-hungry, rich and ruthless dictator. When the UN summon him to New York to address their concerns over his use of nuclear weapons, he has to ensure democracy never comes to the country he so lovingly oppressed.

I’m afraid my broken arm calls for a slightly different (and bitesize) reviewing format. So here’s ten things I want to say about The Dictator:

1. The person the film is dedicated to perfectly sets the tone you should expect for the remainder of the running time.

2. The trailers have given far too much away (AGAIN), but there is also a lot of footage that didn’t make the final film – cue an extended director’s cut DVD release.

3. It isn’t as daring as Borat or Bruno, resulting in the scripted format feeling a little safe.

4. There is one particular ‘money shot’ that will have you recoiling as much as it will have you laughing. You’ll know it when you see it.

5. Anna Faris’ Zoey flits around and is surprisingly a little irritating in parts, but there are some very funny jokes at her expense when Aladeen says she looks like Justin Bieber.

6. The movie has undoubtedly come at the right time after the deaths of Kim Jong Il, Saddam Hussein, Osama Bin Laden and Gaddafi, but it unfortunately feels rushed and plays host to some pretty nasty editing.

7. As an audience you will fall into one of two camps, as you either find 9/11 jokes funny or you don’t. I’m definitely in the latter category. However, the more generic terrorist material is actually very funny, especially when Aladeen is simply trying to compete with his fellow dictators to keep up appearances.

8. It’s at its best when an intelligent satire, but shrouds itself in stupidity to ensure it hits its target market square between the eyes.

9. SBC never feels challenged, but Aladeen is still a rather memorable character that puts a smile on your face. It just won’t be the character Cohen’s remembered for.

10. At times The Dictator borders on hilarious, with incredibly witty satirical material that makes you wish you knew more about politics. It’s just a shame that Cohen’s obvious intellect and knowledge on the subject is brushed aside in favour of close to the knuckle terrorism lolz.


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