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:: The Dictator

Sacha Baron Cohen set the comedy world alight with one of the finest (and funniest) comedy films of all time with Borat, but then bombed out terribly with Bruno, a film that was so bad it could arguably be one of the worst comedy films of all time. Everybody knows that Sacha Baron Cohen has talent, the main question is does he bring his A-game to The Dictator? The film takes a fictional look at Aladeen (Sacha Baron Cohen) a dictator in the ilk of Kim Jong Il who rules over the land of Waadeya. However, his dream of creating nuclear weapons for ‘peaceful’ reasons put the world on edge and he is called to appear before the U.N. in America.

Aladeen’s trip to the U.S. is turned on it’s head however by a plan thought up by his Uncle Tamir (Ben Kingsley) who wants to see the end of the dictatorship and Waadeya making its oil resources available to the world for profit. Tamir’s plan soon sees Aladeen replaced by an imposter and then forced to roam the streets of the U.S., where nobody knows his name. Soon, he is calling upon Zoey (Anna Faris), a woman he would normally despise, to help him with a job.

But it is when he finds an ally in fellow-countrymen and former Waadeyain nuclear scientist, Nadal (Jason Matzoukas) that Aladeen is able to put together a plan that may see him return to power.

The thing that really holds The Dictator back as a film is that we know that Sacha Baron Cohen and director, Larry Charles) are capable of so much more. There are times in The Dictator where the comedy is red hot, there are also times when the film makes a valuable point (think back to Aladeen’s speech about democracy and America), but it is the in between bits, the bits that see the comedy go beneath the gutter and into the storm water drain below that really hold the film back… and that itself is a shame.

Likewise Sacha Baron Cohen is okay as Aladeen but when you’ve seen the skills he has shown in Borat, Hugo or Sweeney Todd you know only too well that his performance here could have been a lot better. The same could be said for Anna Faris. At one stage in her career she showed promise but if her last few films are anything to go on, she is going backwards quickly.

At least cameos from people such as Megan Fox slide into the film remarkably well and it would be a crime not to mention that Bobby Lee steals every scene he is in as the hilarious Mr. Lao… now there is a character that deserves his own film.

Parts of The Dictator do work very well, but when it dips out it does so in spectacular fashion. This is one film that can only be marked as ‘could have been better’.