After one big laugh and a few giggles into Sacha Baron Cohen’s “The Dictator,” I realized that this movie was probably one of the worst movies that I’ve ever seen.
Cohen has been on a downward slope after his hit mockumentary “Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan,” and he’s finally hit the bottom of the hill. The only plus side in my mind is that he could only go up from here.
“The Dictator” is the story of African dictator Aladeen (Cohen). To appease U.S. leaders and prove that he doesn’t have nuclear weapons, Aladeen travels to the land of the free. While here, Aladeen is kidnapped and replaced with a double as a conspiracy to bring democracy to his homeland. After being stripped of his dignity and his beard — apparently the only way he’s recognizable — Aladeen takes a job at an all-natural grocery store and falls in love with a strong-minded activist named Zoey (Anna Farris). With time running out and democracy about to come to Wadiya, Aladeen must hatch a plan to keep his oppressive thumb over his country.
I’ll start off by saying that I’m a huge fan of “Borat.” The character was so absolutely outlandish and offensive that I couldn’t help but laugh, albeit nervously sometimes, and this is in no way the case with “The Dictator.” The movie feels just like another vehicle for Cohen to be as abrasive and politically incorrect as he can be, but more often than not he’s just annoying.
I think the biggest problem with this film is that everyone already knows what to expect from Cohen, and after some of the serious roles he’s taken on, this movie feels like a huge step back for him. He would be much better leaving his brash sense of comedy behind and growing as an actor.
There’s a good chance I may get smacked for saying this, but you know that a comedy is in trouble when Anna Farris isn’t good. I’m a huge fan of hers — yes, even “The House Bunny.” She has perfected playing the clueless female, and while some of her movies have been duds, she’s usually the bright light. Not in this case. She doesn’t seem like she had any fun making this movie, and it really shows in her performance. Ben Kingsley is also tragically underused. He could’ve been a stronger comedic presence if used correctly … or at all.
“The Dictator” is a huge waste of time and money. If you’re in the mood for a Cohen film then I suggest you rewatch “Borat” or even “Bruno.” You’ll have a better time and won’t feel as though you’re being tortured for information that you don’t have.
There are special features with the Blu-ray release, but I couldn’t bring myself to watch them. I would rather watch “Gigli” than subject myself to anything else to do with this movie. Yeah, you heard right. I would rather watch Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez for two hours than “The Dictator.”
Film: .5 Yaps