Movie Review: The Dictator

I regrettably saw The Dictator recently, and it was pretty lame.  Not only in its content (I hope you love terrorist jokes!), but just in the fact that most of the jokes are bombs (see what I did there?  TERRORIST JOKE!).

To be offended by the outdated Middle East jokes in The Dictator is like being offended by Jay Leno’s Tonight Show monologue.  Yes, they were more profane than you’d see on TV, but they were just so painfully obvious.  And a good chunk of the best jokes (obvious or not) were ruined in the trailer.  The most offensive part of the Dictator was the $55 bill my girlfriend and I paid to see it at Hollywood Blvd…  Granted, we did eat cheese fries and enchiladas like kings, it was still a hefty bill for a bad movie experience.

The funniest parts, to me, were the jokes about the lavish lifestyle of the dictator in his native country.  But I find people who have so much excess that they don’t know what to productively do with it to be rather funny.  Those were my favorite parts of the below average Arthur remake, as well.  Some jokes were even slightly creative, like playing a terrorist version of Wii, with smiling Mii characters reenacting the 1972 Munich Olympics tragedy.  But once the actual plot kicked in, the movie started to fall pretty flat.  I saw it a couple of days ago and I’m struggling right now to even remember all the parts that I genuinely liked.  It was a forgettable movie.

I love Sasha Baron Cohen at his best, but this is probably near his worst.  I laughed out-loud at maybe 50% of the movie, and I don’t know if you consider that a good percentage or not, but it was never a boisterous, hearty laugh.  It was always just a “that’s amusing” laugh.  A “Heh…  Heh heh” laugh.

The Dictator is totally watchable, but I wouldn’t pay to watch it if I were you, now that I’ve seen it.  Just wait until it’s on Comedy Central or for $1 on Redbox or something.  Somewhere where you have easy ability to turn it off and do something else when you lose interest.

Cohen has made four films (where he was the main comedy force behind them); two of which were mainly scripted, and the other two were brilliant “insert fictional character into reality” type films.   The two scripted ones, this and Ali G Indahouse, were pretty sporadic in laughs.  Both are kinda funny, because Cohen is naturally hilarious, but they don’t come close to comparing to his epic trolling films like Borat or Bruno.  Or his old TV show, for that matter.

5 out of 10

Let me just say that this scene from the Borat DVD, which didn’t even make the final cut of the film mind you, is funnier than everything in The Dictator combined.  But to be fair, this is probably one of my favorite comedy bits of all time…

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