The Dictator (review)

I find it hard to fathom, but perhaps Sacha Baron Cohen doesn’t realize that he’s not a movie pratfall artist: he’s a cultural critic. The thing that he is really really good at -- as Borat and Bruno and Ali G. demonstrate -- is not so much in being funny himself but in getting other, actual, non-Hollywood people to reveal their biases and prejudices, and in the process revealing the underlying idiocies that fuel Western society. As such, a sheltered, coddled Middle Eastern dictator character who cannot easily go among ordinary Westerners -- and elicit their unguarded commentary on life, the universe, and everything -- is perhaps not the best avenue for his brand of, what had been, at least up till now, bitter, brilliant, observant satire. For The Dictator is a stunning failure, certainly compared to Borat and Bruno. There’s a moment at the very end of the film,
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