Tuesday, June 19, 2012


Review: The Dictator
2 stars (out of 5)
By R. Kurt Osenlund

In The Dictator, no real-life, innocent bystanders are accosted, and that may just be the most significant flaw of Sacha Baron Cohen's latest, an uncharacteristically arid and unfunny potboiler that makes Borat seem worlds away. For the first time since 2002's Ali G Indahouse, Baron Cohen forgoes the mockumentary style that made him a global superstar, and opts instead for ultra-produced, narrative-humor traditions. He emerges with something that calls to mind the worst of Mike Myers, and lacks the utilized vigor of mad happenstance that colored his last two Larry Charles collaborations. In terms of being on trend, it makes sense that Baron Cohen would want to change his formal tune, as the 15 minutes for faux docs are most certainly up. But in the past decade, no mock-doc star has pushed buttons and tickled ribs better than the man behind Borat and BrĂ¼no, and it's something of a crime that The Dictator, a base-level provocation at best, feels like thousands of other filmic expressions of gross-out, bad behavior.