Directed by: Larry Charles
MPAA Rating: R
The Dictator is about the dictator of the fictional north African country of Wadiya, Aladeen (Cohen; Borat, Bruno). He is forced to come to NYC to address the UN but finds himself in the middle of a failed assassination attempt and replaced by a body double who is being tricked into signing a constitution to bring democracy to Wadiya. Stuck on the streets of NY he must trust his ex-Nuclear scientist (Mantzoukas; The League) and the owner of a market (Faris; The House Bunny) who goes against all his beliefs.
It was refreshing to see Cohen in this sort of hilariously over the top comedy again. He’s playing a racial stereotype and playing with them in an incredibly offensive and funny way. But this time there’s a structure and he’s working more from a script and not with ordinary people. In fact it seems like for The Dictator they wanted to stay far away from even ordinary actors with a plethora of comedic greats coming in for even single lines. I won’t even start rattling off the names, but you’ll be inundated with faces you recognize from many other things throughout the film. All in very small parts that usually you’d see filled with an unknown actor.
Now onto a little bit about the film itself. It is very lowest common denominator. It’s filled with jokes based on racial stereotypes, and gross out gags. If you enjoyed the humor in Borat then it’s safe to say you’ll probably enjoy the broad humor here as well. I do have to say it’s not a laugh riot. I found a lot of the jokes to fall flat, but there were also some really wonderful jokes and asides that were hilarious. So don’t expect the funniest movie of the year, but expect some giggles and a few belly laughs. It’s probably best to take this in with a lot of friends, it’s that type of fun movie.
The acting is great. I enjoyed that Jason Mantzoukas whose work I love in The League and on the podcast How Did This Get Made? is essentially the second lead. He has a big part and he does a great job with it. Anna Faris is a talented comedienne and I liked that she wasn’t afraid to not use her body here. She can’t fall back on being sexy in this role and she still does a wonderful job, although was perhaps underused some places and overused in others.
Overall the movie is a lot of fun. It’s certainly flawed and isn’t great by any stretch, but it’s a fun watch. It’s currently in theaters or wait and check it out when it’s available in your home with a group of friends and some alcohol.