'The Dictator' takes dictating to new level of fun

May 16, 2012 

I love the beginning The Dictator.

Sacha Baron Cohen as Aladeen, dictator of a fictional North African country, explains who he is and calls himself his Excellency, General Colonel Doctor Aladeen, Democratic President-For-Life, Invincible and All-Triumphant Commander, Chief Ophthalmologist, Brilliant Genius of Humanity, Excellent Swimmer Including Butterfly, and Beloved Oppressor and Ruthless Protector of the Precious and Expendable People of Wadiya.

All titles are in capital letters. On purpose.

- Local show times, theaters, trailer.

That’s funny. And a mouthful. No, let’s make that several mouthfuls and after Cohen effortlessly tosses the line out, if you aren’t laughing, your sense of humor needs a check-up.

Aladeen isn’t that bright and the size of his ego out does his intellect by light years. When Ben Kingsley’s Tamir engineers a coup, Aladeen finds himself beardless and unrecognizable at a rally denouncing his regime. Desperate to get back into power, Aladeen connects with an almost unrecognizable Anna Faris’ Zoey. She owns a co-op in New York City.

She helps him as does Nadal, a nuclear scientist that Aladeen thought he had killed because he wanted a round rocket and not a pointed one.

As he is prone to do, Cohen offends just about every ethic group imaginable. Most of the insults are good-natured, and a few are quite funny. The back-and-forth bits with Jason Mantzoukas, who plays Nadal, and a lecture to the United Nations about freedom, capitalism and the 1 percent are the humor highlights.

Another plus. It’s short. Director Larry Charles, who did Cohen’s Borat and Bruno, gets right at it, stays on target and keeps The Dictator moving. He also puts his unique stamp on the film.

When doing a character — and when doesn’t he? — Cohen is a funny guy. The Dictator is funny. It’s not laugh loud, snarfing, hurt you kind of funny, but it has moments where you’ll do a snort or two.

Mr. Movie rating: 4 stars

Directed by Larry Charles

Stars: Sacha Baron Cohen, Anna Faris, Ben Kingsley, Jason Mantoukas, John C. Reilly

Rated R for mature themes, language. It’s playing at the Carmike 12, the Fairchild Cinemas 12 and Walla Walla Grand Cinemas.

5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen
4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it's your type of movie.
3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on video.
2 stars to 1 star: Don't bother.
0 stars: Speaks for itself.

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