Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat


September 12, 2012

‘Dictator’ suppresses decent punch lines

DVD Review

Pauls Valley, Oklahoma — No matter how terrible certain infamous leaders have been throughout their small sample in despicable history, there’s always going to be for some unexplainable reason someone who thinks they’re just swell. Whether it be misguided skin heads worshiping Mr. worst mustache choice in history Adolph Hitler or teenage nimrods forgetting what a mass murderer Che Guevara was when they wear his face on a T-shirt for being a rebel, even scum have faithful followers.

So it’s no big deal when Hollywood makes fun of these upstanding psychos by offering them a little mock worship, with silly entries such as these. Who better to portray a character so far out it almost seems true than the same guy who brought us painful entries like “Borat” and “Bruno.” The biggest difference this time around is everyone involved in the filming knew “The Dictator” was fiction and not a fake-u-mentory, though our star does try to capture some of the same outlandish behavior.

This particular story introduces audiences to a fictional madman named Admiral General Haffaz Aladeen (Sacha Baron Cohen), who has since his youth ruled the country of Wadiya with what he assumes is an iron fist. He’s pretty much satisfied giving the middle finger to the free world until the United Nations threatens military intervention because of not being upfront about his nuclear program.

As a result Aladeen heads to New York to speak in front of the UN, but before he can even make this happen he is kidnapped and replaced with a gullible double who is bent on destroying his dictatorship legacy. From there it’s pretty much a downward spiral as he figures out how powerful he isn’t from his former backstabbing Uncle Tamir (Ben Kingsley) to a co-op owner named Zoey (Anna Farris), who he falls for despite her unwillingness to bow down. In many ways it’s probably the least offensive of the lead roles for Cohen and at times is pretty funny, though not quite golden enough to make it a cult classic.

Still, I will admit I’d much rather sit through this parody again than most of the popular movie spoofs that have fallen short in recent times (AKA painful submissions like “Year One” or “Meet the Spartans”). Cohen at times reminds me of the product we used to get out of Leslie Nielson in his hay day, still looking for those epic moments where you need medical attention from laughter.

While this flick at times approaches intelligence, it’s pretty much suited to the low brow crowd and with content more adult appropriate. If you need something to waste a little over an hour but with average expectations, this will work. As a result I’d say the verdict for “The Dictator” is two and a half out of five regimes.

DVD rental courtesy of Family video of Pauls Valley.

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