Review: The Dictator (15)

TASTE TEST The Dictator hits New York

TASTE TEST The Dictator hits New York

First published in What's On

SACHA Baron Cohen atones for the sins of Bruno with this gleefully bad taste fish-out-of-water comedy, which kicks sand in the eye of political correctness.

We’re in a perpetual state of discomfort during The Dictator, unsure where the scriptwriters might venture next for uneasy laughs.

No subject is off limits — the September 11 attacks, rape, sexual equality, Judaism — and Larry Charles’s film tramples merrily over social taboos, hitting more targets than it misses as the titular despot runs amok in the capitalist playground of New York City.

We can’t resist a wry smile when Cohen’s abominable protagonist makes a speech to American dignitaries and exposes the Land Of The Free as a dictatorship in all but name.

A flash of full frontal male nudity takes us by hysterical surprise and Megan Fox and Edward Norton embrace brief cameos as themselves.

Cohen is at the centre of the madness as Admiral General Aladeen, tyrannical ruler of the African state of Wadiya, who is hiding the real Bin Laden in one of his opulent palace’s spare rooms.

On a visit to ‘the Devil’s nest’ of America to address the United Nations about his nuclear arsenal, Aladeen is usurped by his duplicitous brother Tamir and cast adrift on the streets.

The tomboyish manager of a vegan feminist non-profit co-operative, takes pity on him.

The Dictator delights and disturbs, and if you judge this film on the number of belly laughs ignore the occasional lulls, it’s a rousing success.

DAMON SMITH

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