I almost had a seizure from laughing in this film.
I almost had a seizure from laughing in this film. Cohen is fearless. Anyone who's seen Borat or Bruno knows he will do anything to get a laugh. While those films were singularly perverse, The Dictator, thankfully turns down the naked dude shenanigans and focuses more on the political satire. Cohen skewers the lifestyle, glorification, and general stupidity of past dictators. My favorite is how the word "aladeen" is the word for good AND bad in the Wadiyan language. This particular gimmick never gets old as the Wadiyans never have a clue what's actually happening. That's about as subtle as it gets. The gags are delivered by sledgehammer as Cohen loads the film with physical comedy.
Anna Faris almost steals the show as the hairy feminist Zoey. Her character embodies what Aladeen hates and doesn't understand about women, but - gasp - is intrigued by the fact that she actually thinks for herself. Their romance and his coming to terms with the idea of it, is knockdown funny. Their scenes together will have you falling out of your seat laughing. We hadn't seen a lead female character in any of Cohen's films yet, so she really is a breath of fresh air. Faris has been around for a while. She's effortless as a comedienne. She's made a few bad films, but she's always likeable and effective in her roles. Her turn as Zoey is the anchor of The Dictator. She and Cohen are great together.
The Dictator is not trying to offend you. It actually works as a political satire. Aladeen's take on American culture and our so-called free will is genius. He does a great job of exposing the vast inequality and hypocrisy of the first world. Anyone watching this film will get the laughs, but walk away with a little insight as well. I give Cohen and his co-writers major credit for making a movie as thoughtful as it is funny. His observations on middle-eastern life are equally comical. Although I have a feeling that audience may not be as receptive to criticism.
The Dictator is Cohen's most evolved character to date. He's beefed up his storytelling and made a well rounded film that doesn't lose a step on the humor. Cohen as a performer is versatile. I can't wait to see him portray the legendary Queen front man, Freddie Mercury. Cohen's got talent, whether it's over the top as in The Dictator, or in an ensemble; he's a gifted performer. The Dictator is not to be missed.