Supreme Leader Admiral General Aladeen is the ruler of the Republic of Wadiya, a small country which has a nuclear program that’s under a lot of discussion at the United Nations. When Aladeen is invited to the UN to clarify his nuclear plans he gets kidnapped and replaced by a double. Alone in America, without money, power and – shock! – his beard, Aladeen teams up with the former head of his weapons program and is forced to start working in a health food store while trying to uncover the conspiracy against him.
Sasha Baron Cohen has made a name for himself with Borat and Brüno, two movies that rely heavily on his capability of acting a totally absurd and outrageous character along with reactions from unsuspecting real individuals on his behaviour. In The Dictator, Cohen again takes on the role of such a weirdo, but this time everything is scripted and the movie as a whole doesn’t manage to truly come to life. The jokes at the beginning in Wadiya set up things nicely but once in the US, The Dictator starts to quickly follow the usual steps of this type of comedy and Cohen doesn’t manage to make things interesting or funny enough to keep you interested. About halfway the movie, I was sitting in my seat wondering when we would be getting some truly great jokes.
Comedy is one of the most difficult things to achieve but when one does reach the goals set, the end experience is extremely satisfying. Unfortunately, The Dictator doesn’t manage to live up to the hype and ends up following too much the traditional lines laid out in all too many “funny” movies before. The jokes aren’t good enough, take too long at times to really make an impact, and in the end the overall experience is just disappointing.
The image of The Dictator doesn’t have any major artefacts or compression errors, but looks a bit uneven. In darker scenes there’s some noise present, some scenes look a bit flat and soft, and the intentional style favors saturated teals, oranges, and yellows, making skin tones look at bit unnatural. Not saying things are really bad, but we’ve seen better. As with most comedies, the sound is decent but doesn’t impress due to the nature of the movie. In the extras department we don’t get much exciting stuff either: a music video, deleted and extended scenes, and an extended version of the Larry King interview featured in the movie.