Cohen Brings Both Humor and Offensiveness

Sacha Baron Cohen always makes quite a show when he produces a film.  Borat and Bruno clearly showed us that he wasn’t afraid to test the boundaries of appropriateness and comfort.  So naturally you can guess that I was a little skeptical when he decided to venture into the Arabic world and the jokes to follow.  What’s my verdict on this movie you may ask?  Was it good like Borat or crap like Bruno?  Read on to find out.

For those of you who have missed the countless trailer commercials, the plot of this movie is about a dictator named Aladeen (Cohen) who enjoy a life of luxury and misuse of power.  He is eventually called to the U.S to address the United Nations, but is interrupted when he is abducted.  Stripped of his beard, and as a result his power, Aladeen must now adapt to being a common, oppressed citizen, with only a hand full of people willing to help the tyrant.  What adventures are to come?

As I’m sure you all guessed, it wouldn’t be a Cohen movie without stepping over the line at least once and The Dictator is no exception.  Throughout the movie Cohen continues to make fun of the Arabic culture that is both insulting and funny at the same time.  However, his jokes don’t just limit themselves to Middle Eastern stereotypes, they expand into just about every ethnicity in the world.  Unlike most comedies however, Cohen doesn’t hold back on insulting traditions, values, and color and more than once says some pretty harsh things.  Those easily offended by racial dialogs should definitely avoid this movie.  You may seem surprised that I actually found most of the dialogue funny, but what I found humorous was the delivery ore than the content.  Cohen’s accent in this movie made his vocabulary very funny and entertaining, especially the use of his name for various words.  Dialog wasn’t the only funny thing this movie had to offer.  No my friends Cohen also had some funny situational comedy occurring as well.  There were various moments where he was lurking the streets, interacting with customers, or hanging out with his fellow countryman Nadal (Jason Mantzoukas) that had me in stitches, and other parts that had me wonder what Cohen was thinking.  Mantzoukas brought the best out of Cohen’s character and set him up for so many jokes that kept the movie entertaining.  Like Cohen, he too has mastered the English-Arabic accent and manages to say his lines, many of which I found funnier than Cohen’s, with an emotion that makes it very funny.  Both of them had a natural chemistry that made it feel real and not over acted, which just made it funnier.  Anna Faris on the other hand kind of plays the same character she always plays, and while she plays the part well it really adds nothing special to the movie.  The other thing I liked about this movie was the catchy and funny soundtrack that Cohen and company put together.  Many of the songs you hear are Arabic versions of popular songs and I had some fun trying to figure out what tracks were being sung.

But there are some negatives to this movie that I wanted to warn audience members about before they spend their money on a ticket.  For one thing, although there were some funny surprises in the movie, the trailers did ruin a lot of the good jokes.  Many of the scenes seen in the trailers are again present in this movie, and were already stale by the time I got to the film.  If you didn’t catch it before, there is severe racist and sexist humor in this movie.  Sure it is supposed to be in good humor, but Cohen really oversteps his boundaries for some of the jokes, making them more offensive than anything else.  Another thing I wish to warn you about is there are a few scenes that are very uncomfortable/awkward to watch.   I can’t really tell you too much, but let’s just say that some of the sexual humor makes the American Pie series seem like child’s play.  The plot is also predictable, but that is to be expected in a comedy series and so I can’t really dock it too much.

            The Dictator is definitely one of the funnier comedies I have seen in a long time, but it still isn’t the best comedy of the year.  Cohen does a great job making fun of many cultures, but for me he still needs to dial it down to continue to make it fun.  Despite a predictable story, and some awkward scenarios though, I had fun watching this movie.  However, I recommend you hold out on this movie until Netflix offers it, and only go if you have a group of friends wanting to laugh their heads off.  The scores for this movie are as followed:

Comedy:  7.0-7.5

Movie Overall:  5.5-6.0

Again it’s fun, but you can save your money for something else.  If you decide to see this film though, make sure to stay for about half of the credits to see a few more funny scenes.  So check back tomorrow for not one, but two reviews.  Until then, this is Robbie K signing off and telling you to enjoy the movies.

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