Just Another One of the Guys
“The Dictator” has hutzpah.
This new film from Sacha Baron Cohen is gross-out funny, but we’ve come to expect such material from the creator of “Borat” and “Bruno.” What makes ‘The Dictator’ different is its attitude.
SBC, as I will call him, portrays the despot of a Middle Eastern country in northern Africa. He fakes his own death and then risks his life to make sure that his country, Waydia, remains oppressed. Yes, I said ‘remains oppressed!’ This is the funny twist on the entire concept of dictators in today’s world. (Don’t worry! His character, Aladeen, wants his country to be oppressed for all the right reasons!)
The plot follows Aladeen’s rise to power and his current problem – nuclear research – which the free world thinks will become weapons of mass destruction. So, he is summoned to the United Nations in New York City to speak and assure everyone that Waydia will not develop WMDs. A subplot has Aladeen’s top aide, Tamir, planning to dispose of Aladeen and place himself as leader so he can sell oil rights to the highest bidder.
Of course, all of this comes to a point of no return in NYC; and Aladeen is believed dead, but goes undercover in an organic market, which is managed hilariously by Anna Farris (almost unrecognizable).
Let the action begin! Almost every sentence is a joke, a gag or a funny statement about any and every thing. Director Larry Charles probably just stood back and let SBC do his thing. In fact, SBC, Alex Berg, David Mendel and Jeff Shaffer wrote the screenplay. So, SBC was ready to do what it took to pull off the gags and jokes. I believe he did a really good job with it.
Ben Kingsley as Tamir is a waste of talent. Really, just about anyone could have been this character. I guess it was funny to have such a big name be in a small role, but it didn’t work for me. Luckily, Tamir isn’t in that many scenes; and Kingsley does what he can with the role.
The movie really gets going when Aladeen is in Zoey’s (Farris) market. The jokes work and the two of them have a good chemistry on screen. The action keeps moving due to the length of the film (83 minutes). This is actually good because dwelling on any of these offensive/gross situations would just become uncomfortable…………….yet, a few seconds can be funny, even hysterical.
“The Dictator” is rated R for strong crude and sexual content, brief male nudity, language and some violent images. All of this is well and good, but when you see the Aladeen/delivery of a baby scene, you might wonder why the movie is only “R.”
One neat aspect of this movie is the cameos and guest stars. It is a veritable ‘Saturday Night Live’ alumni reunion in the cast as you will see Fred Armisten, Chris Elliot, Horatio Sanz and Chris Parnell. And there is Gary Shandling, John C. Reilly, Edward Norton and Megan Fox, too.
Little known actor, Jason Montzonkas, is a Waydian nuclear scientist who helps Aladeen recover his dictatorship. Montzonkas is very good and he has some good chemistry with SBC on screen as well.
“The Dictator” is non-stop jokes, some slapstick and a lot of off color humor, but it does what all good comedy does: it takes down the high and mighty. Even Aladeen’s signature ‘head chop’ slash sign is funny. Many have noted that SBC has the same style as Peter Sellers in his heyday. I can see that! He does have Sellers’ mannerisms and style. I like it!
The film debuted in third place this past weekend with $17.4 million; and it opened on Wednesday, May 16, a couple of days early. This finish was expected and I think it will continue to find an audience during this summer season. (And don’t miss the fun ‘Making Of’ scenes at the end of the credits.)
“The Dictator” can be stupid, but it’s a funny kind of stupid……………worth seeing………………..
The public played along and ‘sunk’ this ‘Battleship.’
This new movie, based on a Hasbro board game, will probably go the way of “John Carter,” which will never make its budget back. The main reason for ‘Battleship’s’ floundering? The producers, in trying to make a blockbuster like ‘Transformers,’ forgot to get a decent script to use when they filmed the movie.
The new movie did place second last weekend when it debuted, but it only took in $25.5 million. This is not good when it cost $209 million to make. Basically, it tanked…………………
Let’s start with the plot……….fleet of ships fall under attack by aliens but eventually, the humans win.
This premise might be good in the right hands, but brothers Erich and Jon Hoeber both have two left hands! They wrote the screenplay, but I guess it was director Peter Berg and the producers who didn’t think how it would look on the screen. And to make matters worse, this movie stars Taylor Kitsch, the title character in the epic failure mentioned above, “John Carter.”
Can you imagine being this guy’s agent?!
Anyway, Kitsch can’t elevate a bad script, so it’s a double whammy going against the film, which also stars Brooke Decker, Liam Neeson and the singer Rihanna who needs to make sure her musical career is still intact.
Another problem is that “Battleship” is 131 minutes long! The set-up is slow……there is too much information……it could have easily been cut by 10 minutes; maybe 40! You are urged to stay after the credits for an additional scene…….Why? Isn’t wasting 131 minutes of my life enough for you Hollywood guys?!
This movie is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence, action and destruction; and language.
As you watch “Battleship,” ( I recommend you don’t) you will begin to ask yourself questions of the action and the validity of events like “How did that guy get the communications case out of the hut?” and “How did a disabled guy beat up an armored alien in peak physical form?” So many questions, so little reason to answer……………….
Director Berg and producers want the big explosions and the action; they don’t care if the story follows logically or even has gaps! And there are explosions and action……………”Battleship” is worse than any Transformers movie. The screenwriters should never work again!
I hate to spoil plotlines, but this one is so ‘out there’ that I have to discuss it. (And since you will not see this movie, you will not know the scenes are there.) The script calls for the heroes to commandeer the real “USS Missouri,” which is a museum in Pearl Harbor now. They use this 70 year old vessel which hasn’t been to sea in decades, runs on steam; and doesn’t have ordinance to attack the alien’s mother ship and stronghold.
Collectively, can we say, “What the H---?!”
And yes, I recommend that you also ignore the DVD when it comes out! I don’t care how many extra features it has; it will still have this movie on it, so let it ‘sink’ as well………………………..