In The Dictator, Admiral General Aladeen, the Supreme Leader of Wadiya has a problem, he’s supposed to deliver a speech to the UN in New York but a spy has stolen his beard and his second in command has replaced him with a body double for his own agenda.
Unable to get back to his sycophants, Aladeen has to rely on his limited wits and absent charm to convince evil Americans to help him. Accustomed to complete power, including the ability to change any rule, even language, (Aladeen has replaced over 60 words in the dictionary with his own name, including both “positive” and “negative”) will the dictator come to learn the lessons he needs to restore normalcy? We say, See it, it’s aladeen.
TAYLOR: Mr. Howe made his annual pilgrimage to his reptilian home planet, Pintar. So I thought I’d take my oldest friend and Vernon city councillor, Ryan Nitchie to see The Dictator.
NITCHIE: I love Sacha Baron Cohen’s warped sense of humor, however. I was a little worried about this film, as his wheelhouse is improvisational comedy in character, like Borat. In this film he had to work within the confines of a script and rely on his comedic writing ability, but he succeeds.
TAYLOR: I’m not sure Cohen’s guerrilla style would have worked in this film. For one thing, he’s much too famous to hide behind makeup, folks would simply recognize him. Secondly, I’m not sure anyone could run around New York city as a middle eastern dictator causing trouble, without that trouble becoming real. I think Cohen might be a genius, but he’s often preoccupied with shocking people. This film wasn’t so much about the gross factor, (although it was very 14A) as it was about social and political satire, fundamental bigotry or recent American history.
NITCHIE: Having watched a lot of the pre-release interviews on TV you can see his comedic genius in the subtle nuances of his dialogue with the interviewers. He often slightly fused Aladeen with Borat which left me with tears in my eyes from laughter.
TAYLOR: Although I nearly rolled my eyes a couple times, just when I thought Cohen was taking things too far, he took them further and I wound up laughing.
NITCHIE: As far as political satire goes there certainly seems to be some merit to governance via a benevolent dictatorship, (as I quickly swipe my hands in front of my throat in a cutting motion.)
TAYLOR: Yikes, there goes your future mayoralty.
Taylor gives The Dictator three failed executions out of five. Nitchie gives it three pointy missiles out of five.
Brian Taylor is a movie reviewer living in the Okanagan.