It’s not often you come across a knock about comedy, were our hero is dictator of a North African country who wishes the destruction of the West. Sacha Baron Cohen stars as his new creation, Admiral General Aladeen, a dictator from the fictional oil rich country of the Republic of Wadiya, where he plans to create weapons of mass destruction. As Aladeen visits New York City to speak at the UN, his uncle Tamir (Ben Kingsley, who else) plots to kill him and replace him with a doppelgänger to sell the countries oil. Naturally things don’t go to plan as Aladeen survives losing his beard and his identity in the process. Lost in the streets of the big apple, he finds help from Zoey (Anna Faris), a charitable vegan who employes refugees to work in her grocery store.
Directed by Larry Charles, who has helmed both Borat and Bruno, follows a similar premise. A foreigner from his own world comes to America in a fish out of water scenario, but this time Aladeen is scripted, unlike his prevuois creations. Likely due to lack of public figures who would fall for his jokes. Not that Cohen is ever one to hold back from his humor and The Dictator is no exception. Whether it’s making fun of terrorism, sexism, or religion, the comedy dial is set firmly on offend whilst firing gags out at a rate of a machine gun. Some miss the mark while others hit it directly. Whether it’s slapstick, gross out, nob gags, the sight of an irritating child being kicked or satire, The Dictator play best when satirizing it’s subject, Aladeen is played as man child with no concept of what goes on outside his own palace. So when he loses his identity and has is eyes opened (but not quite), the tender moments are lost in the jokes. What you are left with is a modern cruder version of Charlie Chaplin’s The Great Dictator with only one purpose, to make you wince while you laugh in your seat.