The Dictator

COMEDY; 1hr 23min

STARRING: Sacha Baron Cohen, Anna Faris, Ben Kingsley

Manhattan project: Baron Cohen

Sacha Baron Cohen keeps it mile-wide broad with his clownish farce about a fruitcake despot, lovingly dedicated in an instant tone-setter to Kim Jong-il. As scrawnball Admiral General Aladeen, supreme leader of North Africa’s fictional Wadiya, the chameleonic face of Ali G, Borat and Brüno goes all out for target-skewering belly laughs. And so it is that despite his nuclear-weapons fixation and random beheadings, the supreme leader is more stooge than sadist, and never more than when beardless and unmoored in New York City.


Visiting the US to address the United Nations, the general is gazumped by leadership rival Tamir (Kingsley). With Tamir and Aladeen’s imbecilic double (Baron Cohen — who else?) now at the helm, the ousted autocrat fetches up in a vegan collective run by a zealous feminist (Faris, all wide-eyed sincerity), with whom he is unexpectedly taken.


And so on. Since the plot is incidental to the clumped-together sketches, the deal breaker is whether those sketches fly. That depends on your tolerance levels, but as one with a  weakness for unmitigated idiocy, I say give the crackpot antics — and their shrewdly condemning message — a go.