By Shane A. Bassett
A brave opening dedication may cause a few nervous laughs from the outset, but that’s nothing to prepare you for the lunacy that follows. The nonsensical storyline shows the rise of tyrant and supreme leader General Aladeen of the fictional middle eastern republic of Wadiyan. Rich beyond belief from natural sources, he has a serious misconduct of style and no idea how to treat others with respect. Surrounded by beautiful female guards, he is a revolutionary without a clue, except barking ridiculous demands to his disposable operatives. Through some conspiracy, Aladeen heads to America where he is not well received. After a fake assassination from his own people who replace him with a dim-witted goat herding body double, the real Aladeen has to survive in the real world on the streets of New York. Befriending a tomboy feminist vegan anti political organic grocery store owner, the scene is set for some eccentric activity.
Pushing the envelope of decency, this one of a kind film goes out of its way to offend everyone with a pulse and even someone who hasn’t in a funeral scene not soon forgotten. Audiences will be divided with actor Sacha Baron Cohen as either a comic genius or simply an audacious lark marching to the beat of his own drum. However, like him or not, the abrasive enthusiasm he brings to his character is infectious even if the humour is hit and miss. No doubting his talent, chameleon Baron Cohen was delightful in the recent ‘Hugo’ proving to be actually likeable in a relatively normal role.
Full of set pieces that are more demented than the last including exploring the madness of childbirth in public and a riotous helicopter ride above the Manhattan skyscrapers. Watch for some uncredited cameo appearances from courageous Hollywood stars Megan Fox and Edward Norton, while veteran Oscar winner Ben Kingsley is at his deadpan best. Anatomy references and crude behaviour is at a premium, no race, religion, age or stereotype is safe from ridicule, you have been warned.
The Dictator hits theaters May 16th, in the US. Review courtesy of TheYoungFolks.com