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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Humour at everyone's expense
The Dictator is a 2012 comedy featuring Sacha Baron Cohen as an Arab tyrant brought low after being kidnapped while attending the UN General Assembly. The thin plot sees Cohen's Admiral General Aladeen blunder his way through various culture clashes as he learns about the world through employment at a vegan, feminist, non-profit cooperative. The plot is largely about...
Published 5 months ago by MLA

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars sacha is good, the plot isnt
the disc is in good condition and zoverstocks always sell their products at a great price. on the other hand, the film was fairly boring in many parts, I almost considered turning it off. the only reason I didn't is because the odd moment made me laugh. basically, the plot is terrible and doesn't grip you at all, infact it can be very confusing, but sacha does well...
Published 9 months ago by NatalieE


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Humour at everyone's expense, 8 Dec. 2014
By 
MLA (Jakarta, Indonesia) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: The Dictator [DVD] (DVD)
The Dictator is a 2012 comedy featuring Sacha Baron Cohen as an Arab tyrant brought low after being kidnapped while attending the UN General Assembly. The thin plot sees Cohen's Admiral General Aladeen blunder his way through various culture clashes as he learns about the world through employment at a vegan, feminist, non-profit cooperative. The plot is largely about the jokes rather than the story. At a superficial level this is easily dismissed as kind of silly but it is impressively even-handed in its dismantling of Arab fascism, big oil, and leftist anti-ism. More important that any of that, The Dictator is funny. Not exactly Borat funny but filled with great quips and lots of visual humour. Some of the humour is a little too low-brow but in the main it is another funny Sacha Baron Cohen outing to be entertained by.

Cohen's performance borrows heavily from Borat. The difference between Aladeen and Borat boils down to wit. Aladeen is just as bumbling and incompetent at times, especially when forced to work a mundane job. Unlike Borat, Aladeen is full of put-downs and retorts, spending most of the film berating or insulting someone. Amid our fearful, politically correct times, this kind of humour that insults all sides equally is most welcome.

The plot expands the wit by showing Aladeen to actually be much more effective when taking charge of the co-operative he works for. Aladeen is brutal and unpleasant. He gets the job done. The Dictator savagely skewers the utopian notion that we are all the same.

The unchecked power of dictatorship leads Aladeen into trouble. The cartoonish way he condemns even his most loyal subjects to death for the most insignificant of failings is hilarious black humour. Quite probably inspired by the notorious video of Saddam Hussein's condemning so many of his Baathist contemporaries when he consolidated his power, it is a pointed barb directed at the idiocy of so many absolute rulers and their extreme paranoia.

Sacha Baron Cohen works well with a sidekick. A close friend to humiliate and be brought back down to Earth suits his socially unaware characters. The Dictator has Nuclear Nadal. Of course Nadal is not a name native to the Arab-speaking world. It isn't a particularly funny name so is presumably just a reference to one of the great nicknames of all time - Chemical Ali. Nadal is a WMD specialist, brilliant in his field. It is a great, subtle dig on all sides. Against the West for their invasion of Iraq over WMD but also against the anti-war brigade given Saddam did actually have WMD - he used them on the two largest non-Sunni Arab populations in his country.

The interactions between Aladeen and Nadal played by Jason Mantzoukas are uniformly hilarious. Sacha Baron Cohen does bickering better than anyone, the barbs the pair trade are brilliant. Aladeen's casual and mainly un-challenged racism is excellent in a Hollywood film. Hard to believe he got away with calling Mitchell Green's Dinka character a sub-Saharan. Such a clever way to say something so unpleasant yet also speaks to the relationships across that great physical and cultural divide. The reference to child soldiers is painfully funny and also uncomfortable.

The main plot line revolves not around Aladeen's relationships with his Wadiyan counterparts nor other non-Americans but is mostly about his inappropriate love for Zoey played by Anna Faris. It is a role many miles away from the ones Faris is normally cast in. She is almost unrecognisable with a boyish crop and deliberately asexual clothing. Zoey is everything Aladeen should despise. Equally Aladeen should be everything Zoey objects to. While she does correct his behaviour at times, the relationship between the two is much better for the complete lack of any values in common. The moment Aladeen punctures moral relativism by arguing that Zoey's choices in life are as bad as his own dictatorial excesses is delivered with such a broad grin it is hard to do anything but laugh out loud.

Inevitably there are some bum notes in this as in all of Sacha Baron Cohen's film work. The sequence featuring grotesquely over-sized breasts used as a weapon is just not funny. An extended sequence about masturbation is completely unnecessary, adding no value to plot or character, and most egregiously just not being funny. Hard to see why this lengthy sequence was included as it could easily have been edited down to avoid what is simultaneously The Dictator's slowest and least funny moment. A bad bit of directing by Larry Charles there.

The Dictator is not a sparklingly directed film. It gets by mostly on Aladeen's witty barbs and Baron Cohen's ability to imbue unpleasant people with such endearing pathos. There are few who could make such a cruel person work so well as the hero by making his detachment from the challenges of ordinary life leave Aladeen so unsuited to deal with the trials he faces. It helps that his cartoonish title of Admiral General along with his sparkling white military uniform go so well with the big bushy beard and the huge grin. Aladeen looks great, a terrific pastiche.

Aladeen's outlandish appearance contrasts starkly with that of his uncle Tamir played by Ben Kingsley. Tamir is calculating and cold. He is not the type of person who seems to rise to dictatorial positions even though it seems he would probably be much better at it. The bombastic Aladeen is the leader despite his intellectual flaws,

The Dictator offers humour at the expense of all sides. It does go too far on one occasion as the guttural nature of Arabic is laughed at a bit too much with Baron Cohen spewing phlegm. It is true to say that Arabic occasionally sounds unpleasant to western ears but it is another thing to mock it to that extent given Baron Cohen's own heritage.

Fortunately there is enough here to ensure blatant critique of the west as well. The big oil obsession is all a bit obvious but at least they get their share of the blame. The pervy Chinese oil magnate is particularly genious. The defining speech of the film though is a withering criticism of democratic deficit in the US. Impressive to be given such a devastating litany of barbs directed at US failings that seem to last for such a long time. Lining the various criticisms up together and using Aladeen as the voice is pitch perfect.

The Dictator is not always pitch perfect but it gets a lot right. It does not get the special features right. They are boring. The main feature seems to be an interview of Aladeen conducted by Larry King. King is his usual gruff but playful self. Aladeen's retorts are unimpressive.

The Dictator is funny. It is silly and slapstick at times but wrapped up in some biting political satire. There are some down moments but for just under an hour and a half of banter and barbs it is a fun film. Not in the same class as Borat but well worth seeing nonetheless.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Less edgy, but by no means less funny, 2 Feb. 2013
By 
Jules (England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
While The Dictator maintains it's satire with a rude & crude approach to it's humour, which won't be to everyone's tastes, it's very much more conventional as a movie than Sacha Baron Cohen's predecessors in Borat & Bruno. In that is very much more a structured movie with a traditional plot with a beginning , middle & ending, as opposed to the TV camera crew following a set of outrageous moments with random people.

The plot is quite simple, Sacha Baron Cohen plays the eccentric dictator of the North African nation of Wadiya, Aladeen. While his 2nd in command who should had been the next in line to the throne, Tamir (Ben Kingsley -Gandhi), plots to overthrow him. As his latest assassination attempt fails , Tamir decides to take Aladeen out of his comfort zone to America, to address the United Nations, and have him assassinated there, while Aladeen's double will make Wadiya a democracy on World T.V & profit from the oil rights himself. But things don't go quite to plan, as a de-bearded Aladeen runs amok in New York to great comical ends, in a life affirming experience as he meets & falls in love with the beautiful hairy boy child Zoey (Anna Faris -Scary Movie). Comedy & mayhem ensue as Aladeen runs into people with totally different beliefs to his own.

Overall i found The Dictator to be an hilarious movie with many comedy set pieces, i felt offended & shocked in places but i couldn't help but laugh, although some of the jokes fell flat, like the Wadiya meaning of positive & negative for example. On the flip side it was very clever & great satire on real life. The running jokes in the film had me in stitches, especially Bobby Lee (Harold & Kumar) as the Chinese delegate who has a penchant for American Hollywood actors who will do anything for money apparently. And Aladeen's own trophy wall of celebs, with cameo's by Megan Fox & Edward Norton bringing this to fruition. John C.Reilly (Step Brothers) as a racist US government agent, had an hilarious torture scene with Aladeen. Sacha Baron Cohen is hilarious in the lead, while Ben Kingsley's role is quite reserved in comparison, yet his gravitas is welcome to give the villain that serious edge required to counterbalance things & Anna Faris is right at home with her comic rapport with Cohen.

In conclusion, i found the more traditional film approach of The Dictator an easier transition back into the genius of Sacha Baron Cohen's work. For those who prefer his more edgy Bruno/Borat shock T.V style this may seem like Sascha selling out to Hollywood with a mainstream approach & probably be a little disappointed. Recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars sacha is good, the plot isnt, 5 Aug. 2014
This review is from: The Dictator [DVD] (DVD)
the disc is in good condition and zoverstocks always sell their products at a great price. on the other hand, the film was fairly boring in many parts, I almost considered turning it off. the only reason I didn't is because the odd moment made me laugh. basically, the plot is terrible and doesn't grip you at all, infact it can be very confusing, but sacha does well playing his role.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars not his best performance, but a must-see for fans, 21 Dec. 2013
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funny but not enough to make you laugh your a** off like borat or bruno. still a nice movie for fans of sacha
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic, 10 Jun. 2013
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This review is from: The Dictator - Triple Play (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy) [Region Free] (Blu-ray)
A classic film. Bad taste. Bad jokes. Top performance. Loved it.

In terms of cringe worthy did he really say that, it falls half way between Borat and Bruno
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4.0 out of 5 stars Crude, rude, but somehow able to make you think, 13 Sept. 2014
This review is from: The Dictator [DVD] (DVD)
"The Dictator" is very crude and makes much of humour that may offend a lot of people for appearing to be grossly insensitive. However, in doing so, it drives home a more subtle point: behind this hideous, extreme caricature of a truly despicable leader is a series of truths about countries around the world that have dubious records on human, civil and gender rights (and that includes the West as well as the East). The film is fully of guilty laughs and is not for the easily-offended, and it offers just about every stereotype you can associate with dictators, but it makes certain that the central character is so awful that you could never sympathise with anyone like him. It may shock, but it does so in order to remind you that these things are really happening somewhere in the world.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great!, 6 Mar. 2015
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Amazon customer (London) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Dictator [DVD] (DVD)
This movie is outrageously funny, laughing without crying is quite a hard thing to pull off when watching this. It is honestly a masterpiece in comedy, the acting is superb and the script is pure art. Risky, edgy, funny, enjoyable…genius.

PARENTAL GUIDANCE: This movie contains strong (occasional crude) sexual references, strong language and nudity. Although this movie is quite edgy, everything is done in a very tongue 'n' cheek manner. Nothing inappropriate is dwelled upon and any rude material or bad language is quickly over with and is done in a comedic fashion.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Of Sacha, 1 May 2013
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The Dictator did not get good reviews from the critics but I found it very funny and had some real truths between the lines. In my opinion it beats the Borat films. It was funny and had a story line which supported this type of humour. Dont pe judge the film by its title. Its not just taking a pot shot at the obvious but just about everyone in the political spectrum. Great Film, saw it in Cinema and thats why I wanted a copy so I could have a good laugh now and again.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Pretty funny, 20 April 2015
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This review is from: The Dictator [DVD] (DVD)
Pretty funny. I did laugh out loud on numerous occasions. No, the humor wasn't vastly sophisticated, maybe, and the 'beating him up with the enormous breasts' scene was fairly hard work but much of the rest of it as so close to reality that it stung pretty much everyone universally, I would say. Worth £3 of anyone's money
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!, 20 Mar. 2014
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Another funny and clever film from Sacha Baron Cohen. Although it is full of silliness, it also has a much deeper political undertone, which gives viewers a good discussion topic afterwards.
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