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Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Dictator is offensively funny

Sacha Baron Cohen pokes at the dictator prototypes

Human beings, however famous they may be, are cartoon characters for Sacha Baron Cohen, cowriter (there are 3 other writers), producer, and the every-frame lead in the mocu-feature ‘The Dictator’. Director Larry Charles exhibits a post Gaddafi, post Islamophobic and post Arab Spring aura where he fixes a narcissistic autocrat who has a pre Elizabethan conviction. Cohen impersonates Aladeen, the ‘after me deluge’ oil king who survives an overthrow attempt by his close aide.

My Cohen-like side did enjoy the mockery the impersonator lavished throughout the mostly indoor shot film. The extensive character study – Let’s agree to disagree, the dictator says in one scene – and the mimicry is comically relieving. There is even a Chomskyan anti-corporatocracy layer in the plot - Ben Kingsley’s Tamir, the left hand of the Supreme Leader Aladeen of the fictional Kingdom of Wadiya, would sell the country’s oil to China for billions of dollars only to buy a house next to George Clooney. But my refined side abhors the ridicule the film does, especially of women. Dialogues like ‘Bad news. It’s a baby girl. Where’s the trash bin?’ is passé. ‘The Dictator’s’ attempt to stretch the already bruised humor, like the helicopter tour scene where Aladeen and Tamir are suspected of mistaken terrorism from their 911 Porsche talk and the overused Sam Douglas mask talk are annoying. The dumb dupe of Aladeen drinks his urine and dumps it on the Israeli delegation at the UN assembly. Well, you got the taste of how far the Dictator can go.
Taking us to the beaten path to create incessant humor and all the slapstick attempts of the ‘Dictator’ could be forgiven (Who am I to forgive the absolute president-prime minister? Well, at least for some fraudulent moments, the Supreme Leader does offer democracy in his deliberate speech at the UN. ‘I’ll make Democracy one of my wives’, the leader says.). Aladeen who gained power at the age of 7 is not vain glorious for nothing. He held his own Olympics, where in the 100 meter race he shot his competitors. He changed over 30 Wadiyan words to Aladeen including positive and negative (so they have HIV aladeen).

Aladeen the dictator’s American concubine hurries up the business because she has ‘to do with the Italian PM tomorrow’. For the Wadiyan warlord, America is devil’s nest built by the blacks and owned by the Chinese (There is the difference between the Dictator and Eddie Murphie who made ‘Coming to America’). In the US, Ala says, the torture tools are relics, collected from the garage sale of the Shah of Iran. Aladeen has tools that work by Bluetooth.

As a political refugee in the US, at least according to the vegan humanist played by Anna Faris, Aladeen boasts Bin Laden is staying at his Wadiya guest house ‘ever since they shot the dupe’. Aladeen enjoys exhibiting bathroom humor and sexual comedy. I’m like hard and spiky outside, the leader says of him, but soft and marshy at the end.

Aladeen’s racism against women and nepotism for derogatory humor is a crime he has done to the art of world cinema. The absurd does not always get absorbed. It is not abuse but overuse that his exhellency is charged with. Behead him! (Supreme Leader, I wink my eye as I say this just like you used to do after you give the death order behind your enemy’s back). 

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