Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Dictator Review - 3 Stars

Sasha Baron Cohen continues his run as equal opportunity offender in “The Dictator”–a run started with the fearlessly brilliant “Borat.”  Like that character, “The Dictator” becomes a fish out of water lost without a clue in our politically correct American society.  As the story begins, we see “The Dictator” in all his glory, paying B level Hollywood starlets to come to his country for sex.  Megan Fox provides a hilarious cameo, that pays off with a wall filled with snapshots of other unlikely providers. After starting a nuclear program, the UN demands The Dictator come to America to explain.  But—conspiracy abounds.  A list actor Ben Kingsley (yes Ben Kingsley!) plays a pretender to the throne who finds a harmless body double to substitute for our guy—kidnapped by John C. Reilly (another A lister) who can’t quite torture out “hero” to death.  Thrown into American society, he meets feminist Anna Ferris who takes his anti female barbs as “humor”, a mistake that sparks a romance between the unlikely pair.  “The Dictator” has plenty to offend but turns brilliant toward the end, when Cohen makes an impassioned plea for the advantages of a dictatorship—including low taxes for the top one per cent, no health insurance, and the ability to start wars without cause.  Hmm. Does it deliver what it promises?  Shock humor.  Is it entertaining?  Depending on your ability to see past shocking material.  Is it worth the price of admission?  Fearless funny filmmaking that makes you think.