Thursday, May 31, 2012

Film Review: The Dictator

The comedy stylings of Sacha Baron Cohen can be easily explained off using the obvious but still quite appropriate metaphor of a tornado zig-zagging its way through the countryside like a whirling dervish of death and destruction.  It hits a farmhouse here and a trailer park there but completely misses a school house and a grocery store.  Never sure which way it will go.  Blindly blustering its way through the world.  This too is how one best receives the films of Mr. Baron Cohen.   Sometimes his jokes hit, and other times they do not.  The man's comic death and destruction (the old comic adage, he killed 'em) is as blind and blustery as any tornado.  This was the case with the pseudo-mocks Borat and Bruno, and it is certainly the case with the more straight narrative form he uses here in The Dictator.

The story of a North African dictator, who through some nefarious dealings, finds himself exiled to Brooklyn, Baron Cohan plays the character for laughs (of course) and sometimes goes low and sometimes high.  The comic can be a sly and even witty purveyor of jokes at times, and I think he does that more often here than in the rather inexplicably overrated Borat.  There are some legitimately laugh-out-loud moments here, and even though it is wildly uneven (par for the course for the comic) it has more going for it than against it.  Hitting like the aforementioned comic tornado, Baron Cohen peppers his film with both political satire, albeit of the most basic kind (some would call it racist or offensive, but then offensiveness is what the man is after, after all), and cheap dick joke laughs pretty evenly.  Never one for the more high brow end of things, Baron Cohen makes out better than usual here.

What we get is much less of the documentary-esque reality TV antics of Borat and Bruno, and more of a straight forward comedic narrative.  We do still get a lot of humour based off of uncomfortable situations, but here it scripted and not real people who invariably get pissed off and attempt lawsuits for the way they have been portrayed in Baron Cohen's films.  But still, the film is funny, and not just in the cheapened state that Borat was supposedly funny.  As for director Larry Charles, who was also at the so-called helm of the aforementioned Borat and Bruno, he puts in his two cents, but in actuality he is more window dressing than anything else.  These films are Baron Cohen's puppies and no one elses.  His films either live or die based on his jokes and his antics and his balls.  For the most part, The Dictator lives pretty well.  For the most part.  It sure as hell ain't rocket science when it comes to Sacha Baron Cohen, but when push comes to shove, The Dictator is pretty funny.  Imagine that.


buddy2blogger said...

Nice review of the movie.

Check out my review .


Alyssa said...

The Dictator was pretty funny for a scripted comedy from Cohen.
Check out my review!