Sunday 13 May 2012

The Dictator review

The Dictator (15/R, 83 mins)
Director: Larry Charles
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
With the moc-doc shenanigans of Borat and Bruno having run their natural course, Sacha Baron Cohen here turns to straight narrative comedy with limited success. Cohen gives an uneven performance as the dictator of the title, General Aladeen of the North African Republic of Wadiya, who is suspected of developing WMDs and travels to America facing UN sanctions. There he’s set up and cut loose in the city, and forced to work in a health food store run by Anna Faris while trying to get his identity back. It’s not the most sophisticated setup ever but the stunning bad taste means there are a fair few vulgar laughs to be had. But it’s sloppily constructed and as likely to provoke gasps for its sheer outrageousness as anything, with a dearth of genuinely clever jokes as it races to the next envelope-pushing situation. The many heinous things Aladeen does as an untouchable despot raise chuckles, but it’s simply not sustained, and its satirical pops are obvious and small scale. It’s not unfunny, it’s just not funny enough.

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