Admiral General Aladeen (Sacha Baron Cohen) visits America to address the United Nations Security Council, but is betrayed by a trusted aide and must take a job undercover working for activist Zoey (Anna Faris), at her alternative lifestyle co-op
From Sacha Baron Cohen and the writers of teen comedy Eurotrip (2004), The Dictator takes the theme of how Americans see foreigners, so crucial in both Borat and Eurotrip, and ramps it up to its logical conclusion: how would Admiral General Aladeen, head of the fictional Republic of Wadiya, fare in the land of the free? It's the perfect set-up for not only the prerequisite fish-out-of-water gags and cross-cultural gross-out humour, but also a pretty sharp critique of Western hypocrisies of all political hues.
Sacha Baron Cohen is something of a one-man industry, bestriding the globe like a colossus of comedy. His international profile doesn't feel particularly British, and his constant, shifting embodiment of 'Others', be they Kazakhstani reporters (Borat), Austrian fashionistas (Bruno) or the aforementioned Wadiyan dictator, allows him to comment on pretty much any culture he cares to target. He's an exhilerating talent made more so by his refusal to restrict himself to dry, witty satire - in common with Matt Parker and Trey Stone (South Park, The Book Of Mormon), he's unafraid of being branded vulgar by anyone too short-sighted to look beyond the fact that his films invariably feature nudity and bodily functions. It's really their loss.
Cast & Connections
- Actor: John C Reilly, Anna Faris, Sacha Baron Cohen
- Director: Larry Charles
- Writer: Sacha Baron Cohen
In a nutshell
Underrated comic excellence from Sacha Baron Cohen with plenty of sharp satire lacing the broader gross-out gags. As ever, Anna Faris proves she's one of the best comic actresses around in a hilarious supporting role.