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Sacha Baron Cohen,
Gina La Piana
The Republic of Wadiya is ruled by an eccentric and oppressive leader named Hafez Aladeen. Aladeen is summoned to New York to a UN assembly to address concerns about his country's nuclear weapons program, but the trip goes awry. Written by
General Aladeen (Sacha Baron Cohen) the harsh dictator of the fake country of Wadiya, claims the world's worst political figures as best friends, admits that the real Bin Laden is currently living in his guest house, and has no problem calling for the execution of anyone who mildly inconveniences him. General Aladeen makes his way to America to defend himself to the United Nations about his pursuit to construct weapons of mass destruction, but ends up running for his life on the streets of New York after an attempted assassination against his life goes awry.
The premise sounds like a winner in the current political world, yet the actual product doesn't live up to the hype of Cohen's reputation. Cohen became a comedic force with his gut busting Borat in 2006 and added to his legacy with 2009's Bruno. His comedic style works best when it's natural, and those around him aren't in on the joke. The Dictator sadly comes across as the exact opposite. It felt staged, scripted, forced and worst of all it wasn't very funny.
The talented cast of Ben Kingsley and John C. Reilly are severely underused, and a pathetic attempt at a love story between the general and the kind of woman he has despised his entire life, a politically correct hippy owner of an organic world market (played by Anna Faris) only plays as weak writing.
There are a few laughs to be had, probably the biggest being the montage of the general learning how to self gratify himself intercut with footage of majestic bald eagles soaring through the air. Cohen's hilarious rendition of Dr. Dre's 'The Next Episode' with the general singing "Aladeen motherfuc%er!" will find itself on more than a few Ipod playlist.
I'm also sure a few of the movie's lines will be quoted by adolescent middle school aged boys and douchebag frat dudes alike, but for the most part The Dictator is a major dud, and a huge step back from Cohen's previous films. It left me longing for the days of Borat offending the world one rodeo at a time.
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