Limacher Low Down: The Dictator is the latest creation from the uniquely comedic mind of Sacha Baron Cohen, and this one may be his most controversial yet! Not one person who sees this movie will leave the theater without some image or phrase that made them shake their head, or question the thinking of those around laughing hysterically at something they may not have found funny. Anti-Semitic retort, and jokes about past relationships may be a little unnerving, but doesn’t take away from the movie itself. One could say that it was done in bad taste, and many will, but it isn’t something that takes away from the overall affect of the movie.
The movie starts off in the fictional North African country of Wadiya, where we see the birth of what is described as a “Gift to the people of Wadiya and the world.” The gift was the birth of the man who would become known as Admiral General Aladeen (Sacha Baron Cohen). We learn the back story of his mother, how he came into power, and his exploits as the Leader of Wadiya. The beginning really gives the sense of what we are about to see, and who is Aladeen. This set up left people laughing hysterically, myself included, and left me wondering how the comedic mind of Cohen works. The fact Megan Fox makes fun of herself, and her celebrity, is a refreshing change from what she may be considered in the past, and sets up more of a story line for Aladeen as well. I will add that Fox isn’t the only one who pokes fun at her status, as a surprise cameo in the latter part of the movie adds a little something as well.
Aladeen has been working on making Wadiya a nuclear power for years, and when he sees the creation of what will threaten to make Wadiya a nuclear threat, he gets greatly upset. It is here that his faithful confidant, played by Ben Kingsley, tells Aladeen that he needs to go and present himself to the United Nations. When in New York, Aladeen arrives to protestors lining the streets bashing him with anti-Aladeen signs, and such. Aladeen, as you might expect, is unreceptive to all of the hatred and takes it all in as admiration. When he arrives at his hotel he meets his head of security, John C. Reilly, who goes on a slight rant about how America is the best, and if you’re not from America then you’re an Arab. This sets up, as seen in the previews, the kidnapping and beard removal of Aladeen. There is more to the scene, but one must see the movie to gain the full grasp of the hilarity of the situation.
Out in New York, Aladeen looks for anyone who might know him, or be able to help him. Outside the U.N. he starts yelling about what is going on, and those surrounding him take his gestures as protest. This is where we first catch a glimpse of Zoe (Anna Faris). Zoe runs her own World Foods Organic collective, and feeling bad about what happened outside the U.N. decides to help out Aladeen. When asked his name he starts reading signs and Zoe believes that is his actual name. This shtick is applied later in the movie as well. Zoe offers Aladeen a job, and he refuses. Out in New York where no one knows who he is, he stumbles across somebody he recognizes in his past and follows him to see if he can help. This is where the movie develops into more of two stories than one. Aladeen returns to Zoe’s place of business, and after a rough start, helps her and the store in his own special way.
The plot now has been developed and the rest of the story plays out in a way that has to be seen to be believed. There is one scene in particular that can easily be considered cringe worthy, but most in the theater were laughing the entire time. I can honestly admit that while being somewhat disgusted, I had tears of laughter in my eyes. When everything is said and done, The Dictator takes us for a ride, and offers humor in ways that most would not expect. The Dictator itself is something that cannot be forgotten easily, and will be a talking point for quite awhile.
I say, being a fan of Cohen’s work since Da Ali G Show was on HBO, this is a step away from his normal brand of comedy. Once again there is the gross out humor that Cohen has become known for, but the main difference between this and his previous adventures is that everyone was in on the joke, for once. This may be contributed to the fact this is the first title character that Cohen has done that was not a part of his show in either England or the United States. The major thing that surprised me that had people talking was the soundtrack. They took popular songs and changed the words around to the language of Wadiya, which did make for some cheap laughs, but I was one who laughed as well. I walked away from this movie with a smile on my face, and my stomach hurting from laughing so hard. I can honestly say this movie isn’t for everyone, but if you enjoyed Borat and or Bruno; The Dictator is a movie that you will find yourself laughing throughout and questioning the sanity of Sacha Baron Cohen as well.