It was movie night this past weekend and I was in the mood for a comedy. The Dictator was just released on Redbox so I decided to give it a whirl. In this film, Sascha Baron Cohen stars as an outlandish dictator of North African republic of
“Wadiya.” When I think of Cohen, my first thoughts immediately go to Borat, or Ali G, the character that jump-started his career and popularity. Unfortunately, this new character of his, and the overall movie, movie failed to perform.
Admiral General Shabazz Aladeen (Sacha Baron Cohen) is a leader who surrounds himself with attractive female guards, refuses to sell Wadiyan oil international (for reasons unknown or I missed the explanation) and is quick to execute anyone who wrongs him in the slightest. Bump into him by accident? As he’s assuring you it’s really no problem, he’s signaling to his guards to get rid of you, which to me, were probably some of the funniest parts of the movie.
His plans to develop nuclear weapons are halted when the UN intervenes and threatens military action unless Aladeen comes to America to address the council. What he doesn’t know is that his Uncle and right hand man, Tamir (Ben Kingsley), has ulterior plans.
When they arrive to New York City, Aladeen is greeted by a slew of protesters as he lavishly parades down the street. Aladeen thinks he’s being warmly welcomed. When he arrives at the hotel, Tamir convinces Aladeen that the extra security is there to protect him during the meetings. The “security” guard, Clayton (John C. Reilly), is actually a hitman Tamir hired to get rid of his nephew. When a torture session goes terribly wrong, Aladeen is left unrecognizable and all alone in a strange city.
When he heads back to the hotel, Aladeen realizes that his uncle has found a lookalike named Efawadh (also played by Cohen) to be a pawn in a greedy game. If Tamir can make Wadiya a democracy, he can open oil market for international trade. Aladeen is disgusted at the idea of democracy and is hysterical over the proposal of it in his beloved Wadiya. Zoey (Anna Farris) mistakes his anguish for passion and decides to help this Wadiyan “refuge” in his fight for “democracy.” Her character is the opposite of his in extremes (she’s vegan, feminist, etc.).
Aladeen eventually recruits the help of a former employee, who he thought he had executed. Aladeen walks into a restaurant that is devoted to hating him and is full of people he thought he had killed.
In the end, the movie was a full of toilet humor and repetitive jokes. You could easily substitute this character with Borat and barely know the difference. I usually enjoy Anna Farris, but she failed to entertain me this round.
There was a lot of talent in this film, but no script to really back it up. For me, it was a miss, but perhaps other people would enjoy it. My suggestion to you would be to just rent Borat instead.