ENRICHED with weapons-grade offensiveness, Sacha Baron Cohen’s new film crashes into cinemas, the upshot being a rising mushroom cloud of appalled laughs.
If Borat was in bad taste, get a load of The Dictator, in which 9/11, the nuclear situation in the Middle East and Osama bin Laden all become legitimate targets of the British comedian.
The man who played Ali G, Borat and Bruno stars as Admiral General Aladeen, the iron-fisted despot of the West African republic of Wadiya, who arrives in New York to bring democracy to his country. But soon after landing, he’s kidnapped by US spooks, shaved of his trademark beard and, unrecognisable, made to work at an eco-deli run by right-on vegetarian Anna Faris.
Rather than being comprised of spoof interviews, Cohen’s latest is a straight, scripted comedy.
And we all remember how that worked out in Ali G Indahouse.
The Dictator is better, but nowhere near as funny as Borat, which rightly remains his high-water mark.
What we have here is a brilliant central character and a few politically incorrect laughs wedded to a limp storyline, done a whole lot better by Eddie Murphy in Coming To America.
Not that there isn’t hilarity. A scene where Aladeen and his lieutenant discuss in their native language his brand new Porsche – a 911 – during a helicopter ride over the Big Apple with two horrified US tourists is inspired.
Likewise, Aladeen extolling the virtues of dictatorship by highlighting how his country’s Press is run by one man who can blame his son for any wrongdoing. Hang on... that sounds familiar.
Last week, Cohen appeared in character threatening the families of any movie critics who dared to say that his new film wasn’t a masterpiece. Today my family resides in a safehouse.