I’m not the hugest Sasha Baron Cohen fan. I don’t need my satirical comedies to come with an apertif of racist jokes or a side of SBC’s own dick. (Seriously, he puts his penis in all of his movies. Why won’t it just go away?) But I do appreciate what he’s doing for shock humor — he’s taking all the aspect of our culture that make us uncomfortable and shoving them back in our faces. It doesn’t go down easily, but it’s probably the only way to get a message across in this cynical, jaded world. I can respect that.
I laughed at Borat as much as the next guy, and found Bruno as disappointing as much as the next guy. I think this may be why I was actually impressed with The Dictator; I didn’t expect much in the way of plot or message, and I got way more out of it than I thought I would. Whereas the two B-movies milked cultural stereotypes for all (and more) than they’re worth, The Dictator added timeliness to the equation. Instead of poking fun at the US by poking fun at “backwards” countries, SBC et al made just as much fun of the US as they did of the countries we’re at odds with. General Aladeen represented the negative aspects of all powerful countries, but reduced to a comical, clownish puppet that sort of makes you want to move to Canada by the time the 83 minutes of movie are up. I love me some Obama, but Aladeen’s speech at the end of the movie (which I’ll leave for you to watch yourself) hits very close to home.
Of course, this movie isn’t without its funny moments; in fact, the whole thing is a big political statement masked in gross-out, racist, witty banter (as one would expect). Jason Mantzoukas, Anna Faris, and Ben Kingsley are just a few of the famous faces that you’ll see (and be slightly disoriented by, as I was) on the screen, branching out of their typical type-casting. Anna Faris wears a brunette pixie wig and doesn’t shave her armpits, for Chrissakes.
This movie is both Aladeen and Aladeen. Rent it when it comes out, and you’ll understand what I mean.