Written by / 5/17/2012 / No comments / , , , ,

THE DICTATOR

title: THE DICTATOR
year: 2012
cast: Sacha Baron Cohen
rating: *1/2

What happens when an undercover agent’s identity is revealed? They have to move on, as did Sacha Baron Cohen… No longer able to slip beneath the radar as a BORAT or BRUNO, where oblivious non-actors react to his crude statements, we’re left with an actual movie. Like Christopher Guest’s FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION… the first non-mockumentary attempt after helping define the genre… this treads very shallow waters. Cohen is the dictator of a country called Waadeya and has a lot of fun ruling his people, winning his own Olympics and not taking U.N. resolutions very seriously. The jokes and situations are only as clever as the one-liners allow, which are hit and miss (and mostly shown in the trailers). But alas… we can't savor his rule very long till he goes to America where, after an agent strips him of his signature beard, Aladeen is a nobody in the streets of New York. He finds work with a spunky feminist who owns a health food store. Anna Faris as Zoey provides the kind of rom-com love interest that corners this film into mainstream avenues Cohen and director Larry Charles seem completely lost in. Adding sporadic over-the-top sexual and/or “toilet humor” seems more befitting a Judd Apatow flick and now, instead of laughing at people with Cohen like the good old days, we’re held hostage to a story that doesn’t even seem spontaneous. Not that THE DICTATOR lacks humor – a few good jokes are present. But they just don’t feel natural anymore.
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