Sacha Baron-Cohen first premiered his most famous character Ali G on a UK Television show called “The 11’oclock Show” (sharing the spotlight with another aspiring comedian called Ricky Gervais). The show also featured minor creations of his – a Khazakstani reporter called Borat and a eurotrash fashion reporter called Bruno. All have gone on to have their own films and all have enjoyed mainstream success, although in my opinion Borat and Bruno were a much better effort.
So his repertoire exhausted, Baron-Cohen has shrewdly made his next film about a character we are already familiar with. With the Arab Spring of last year still fresh in peoples minds as well as the recent deaths of some of the worlds’ more notorious names (Hussein, Jong-Il and Gaddafi), the egotistical deluded world of The Dictator was his next comedy target. And it seemed to suit him well.
His publicity for the film has been typically Baron-Cohen, releasing his fictional character amongst an unsuspecting real life public. This time round included dumping an urn of Kim Jong-Il’s ashes on a very unimpressed Ryan Seacrest at the Oscars! Class. However this film relies less on this sort of improvisation and more on a scripted story, rather like the Ali G movie. The result was as bland and mediocre as the Ali G film. Great idea for sure, but not as spectacular an event as one would hope for, especially for a comedian of Baron-Cohen’s calibre.
The humour has lost its British edge and opts now for the “laugh at that loser!” American style of comedy. Pity. There are a few laugh out loud moments and some where you’ll want to laugh out loud but will think better of it. But maybe it’s 15 certificate indicates this is something teenage kids will love and quote, not thirty-something adults! Maybe I’m just too old? That was rhetorical, no answers on a postcard thankyouverymuch.
That said, I’m surprised it’s not out during the school summer holidays, like The Inbetweeners. I gave that 3 stars last August and this film is just as amusing in a juvenile way.