The Dictator: "I Have Some Aladeen News, And Some Aladeen News. What Would You Like To Hear First"

Director: Larry Charles
Writer:    Sacha Baron Cohen
               Alec Berg
Starring: Sacha Baron Cohen
               Ben Kingsley
               Anna Faris
               Jason Mantzoukas
               John C. Reilly
               Chris Elliott
               Fred Armisen
               Chris Parnell
               Megan Fox
Rating:    ****

Release Date: Out Now

It's plain to see that in the history of Sacha Baron Cohen's film career it has most definitely been an up and down experience. Borat was most definitely the best, and shot him into the worlds public eye, and after a less popular Bruno (which I personally loved), he is back on top form with The Dictator. This is the first time he has released a non-mockumentary style of film (apart from AliG In Da House), and instead he follows a fairly straightforward and typical narrative arc, following the bizarre and inappropriate life of the Wadiyan tyrant Admiral General Aladeen.

The disturbed ruler finds himself thrown directly in front of the United Nations as the West seeks to enforce some democracy on his homeland. Things soon take a turn for the worse, though, when he's abducted by a psycho security man (C. Reilly) and removed of his beloved trademark beard. Aladeen manages to escape, but the democratic reform is already in motion as his villainous deputy (Kingsley) agrees to destroy Wadiya's oil reserves for a hefty personal reward and sends a slightly, shall we say, quirky body double to really put the nail in the coffin.

(L-R) Ben Kingsley, Sacha Baron Cohen
& John C. Reilly
What becomes of Aladeen and the story is your typical, yet hilarious, clash-of-cultures comedy with a hefty dash of rom-com. Aladeen ends up having to use the alter-ego Alison Burgers, and lands a job working at hippy chick Zoey's (Faris) organic supermarket. Faris provides a terrific and stellar performance, as always, and the chemistry and comedic banter between her and Cohen is absolutely spot on; hairy armpits and all.

I think that due to the narrative structure of the film, his transformation has more heart and emotion behind it, certainly more than the transformations from Borat and Bruno. Despite this, Cohen most definitely has not gone soft, so there is no need to worry, the comedy is as outrageous and uncomfortably crude as you'd expect.

if you need some sort of example to prove this, there's a severed head, a masturbatory hallucination and a mid-air 9/11 terrorism gag to provide just some of the many laugh-out-loud moments. Also, a scene in which Aladeen and Zoey have to deliver a baby will prompt many a squirm and plenty of laughs in equal measure. Of course, no Cohen film would be complete without some slapstick and physical comedy moments, such as an awful attempt to zip-line between skyscrapers and a hilarious moment of violence against a bratty child.

The movie certainly isn't as relentlessly funny as Borat (no Megan Fox is a prostitute joke can compete with a Pamela Anderson kidnapping, let's face it), but it does manage to pack a sharp satirical punch that's almost unseen for such a mainstream studio-funded Hollywood comedy. At one point, Aladeen shoots out a speech that really brings home the similarities between democratic and dictatorial regimes. Something that was equally poignant as it was peculiar, and shows that even an outlandish comedy can have a deep message flowing underneath the belly laughs.
Anna Faris

Some may say that The Dictator might spend a little too much time revisiting the same fish-out-of-water scenarios expertly shown by Borat, but I think if it works, why mess with it...aslong as the character is different and it makes me laugh, I don't really care. Cohen's great skill is in creating sympathetic characters out of dimwitted and ignorant men. In thiss case, he strips Aladeen of power in order to make his journey back to the top all the more engaging for the audience.

By the end he may not have experienced the complete spiritual overhaul he claims he has experienced, but over the whole of The Dictator's fleeting yet hysterical 82 minutes, Aladeen at least emerges as a more caring and sensitive character, but still with many a flaw.

The Dictator - Red Band Trailer