Friday, May 18, 2012

Jason watches THE DICTATOR

Sacha Baron Cohen has made quite a career out of satirizing cultural ignorance and pushing our buttons. This works best when there's an unwitting foil, as in the best moments in BORAT, BRUNO, or DA ALI G SHOW. Here the movie suffers a bit by being completely scripted and not having such moments (the closest, which is featured in the trailers, is when he and his colleague are taking a helicopter tour and their innocuous conversation is mistaken for a terrorist plot.)

It also suffers from inconsistency in his title character, Admiral General Aladeen, dictator of the fictional North African country of Wadiya. Mostly he's a murderous, torturous madman. He's also a brazenly naive idiot. And finally, he's a lonely, lovelorn man who doesn't just want to pay fantastic fortunes to have celebrities sleep with him, he wants to cuddle afterwards. It's this last element that semi-successfully makes him a sympathetic character the movie really needs him to be.

And yet, despite all the inconsistencies, it's still funny as hell. A winning combination of slapstick and political humor.

Running Time: 83 minutes
My Total Minutes: 284,899
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