Friday, May 11, 2012

Review: The Dictator

In the past I've always had mixed reactions to movies staring Sacha Baron Cohen. For every good memory from Borat, there was a part of the movie I sort of wanted to forget. It's pretty much the definition of cutting edge of comedy, in the sense that it is definitely offensive. In his most recent film, The Dictator, he is surprisingly subdued. The movie is funny, beginning to end, with fewer out right gross assaults on the eyes like in his previous movies. The movie really aims the majority of its jokes in two directions, racist views of other countries and oppressive dictatorships and misogynist cultures. If you're prepared for some brutal and cutting dialog, then this movie delivers.

The plot is pretty straight forward, and it never really transcends cheap comedy, though. While his last two films took the form of mockumentaries, this is a more traditionally directed film. It occasionally detours from its generally direct path through the story for a scene with a punchline. Probably one of the best parts about the movie is that it delivers a lot jokes in the background instead of just in the foreground or via dialog. There really isn't much more that you can say about the movie without giving away spoilers, though. And as it's a comedy, the movie has nothing outside of that. Any details detract from the jokes and will devalue the film. I recommend it. I'd even watch it again, I think.

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