The Dictator is stupid. I mean this in every sense of the word. The movie is stupid. The character is stupid. The idea of this movie is stupid. The film tells the story of General Aladeen (Cohen), a dictator who thinks he rules his kingdom with an iron fist, when actually the entire country knows him to be an evil, bumbling moron. (Sound familiar?) He comes to the United States to make a speech to the UN regarding his nation of Wadiya’s weapons of mass destruction. Upon arrival, he is double-crossed by his friend and colleague Tamir (Kingsley). Stripped of his title and ignorant of stateside culture, Aladeen is forced to live the life of a Muslim immigrant. Along his journey to reclaim his oppressor title, he meets several people with whom he bonds, including Zoey (Faris), a liberal, hairy-armpitted organic-food-loving shop owner. (She is this movie’s saving grace.) And oh look—things turn topsy-turvy, and wacky antics ensue.
Larry Charles’s The Dictator attempted to satirize the circus that is world politics but instead gave us a poorly plotted storyline sprinkled with Adam Sandler-esque humor. This film’s idea had the capability to be something of merit, a lampoon of a journey through the dog-and-pony-show of government. Alternatively, it was a watered-down spoof that your average, American consumer could love. Sure, I laughed at the timing of a few actors (Katherine Zahn and Edward Norton were among the cameos), but on the whole I found myself bored, unimpressed, and not nearly as offended as I should have been. I mean come on—the world expects great things from Sacha Baron Cohen—but if you’re going into this flick expecting Borat, you will be horribly, deeply, painfully disappointed.