Sacha Baron Cohen Officially Kills His Career Playing General Aladeen In The The Dictator

When Sacha Baron Cohen first emerged on the scene mocking journalists on Da Ali G Show in the early 00′s, I fell in love with his schtick. Finally someone was calling BS on the ridiculous nature of journalists’ interviews and doing it in the funniest way possible. By posing as the British Ali G, the Kazakhstani Borat and the gay Austrian Bruno, Sacha Baron Cohen successfully and hilariously pointed out all the flaws inherant to so many of interviews we witness on TV.

Every time an episode of the show ended, I wanted more Ali G, more Borat and more Bruno. So I understand why someone thought making the mockumentaries Borat and Bruno sounded like a good idea. If the people want more, let’s give them more. But as we quickly learned after seeing those films in theaters, more is not always better. Especially when it comes to featuring one absolutely ridiculous caricature of a character for an extended length of time.

Therefore I walked into The Dictator screening last week with extremely low expectations. Not only was this movie following in the footsteps of Sacha Baron Cohen’s last two films by featuring an unaware and incredibly flawed protagonist, but the protagonist already felt stale to me. The PR campaign for this movie kicked off months ago and I felt like by the time I met General Aladeen in the movie I already knew him well.

So even though I laughed a few times during the film at the stupidest of jokes, I sat stone faced through the majority of it. All I kept thinking throughout the entire thing was “we get it, we get it, we get.” General Aladeen hates democracy, women and jews. How many jokes must we hear to understand that?

The answer? Enough to fill 83 minutes.

At the end of the film, General Aladeen makes a stirring speech pointing out the similarities between America’s democracy and radical dictatorship. The film built up to this point and while it makes compelte sense and sums up the entire concept of the  film, it takes 80 minutes to get there. Before we could get to the actual thesis of the movie, we heard endless pubic hair jokes, gay jokes, jew jokes, women jokes and even rape jokes. Yes, an ample amount of rape jokes. Because rape gets funnier and funnier every time General Aladeen mentions it.

So I just couldn’t muster up excitement for the smart point that the movie made. Which is disappointing, because it’s extremely relevant and could have lead to valuable discussion about the way our country views itself in the larger global context.

But Sacha Baron Cohen opted for 600 pube jokes instead. Nothing dilutes a political statement quite like humor that caters toward college freshman. And that’s why The Dictator killed his career. He made the full transition from an incredibly smart comedian to a stupid actor going for the easy joke. Da Ali G show took brains to watch. The Dictator simply takes balls. Literal balls, the kind that attach to a penis.

While I don’t think it’s too late for Sacha Baron Cohen to recapture the magic that made him famous in the first place, he would have to drastically rethink his career choices. His satirical humor’s not built for the big screen, but rather for small segments where he can make intelligent points that leave us thinking — rather than making 83 minute points that leave us feeling like we just got trapped in a men’s locker room.

Here’s to hoping he can make a career comeback. It’s definitely wanted, but pretty unlikely.

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    • Mel

      Gee Jenni with an i, it’s one of the best reviewed movies of the year. You’re a genius!

      • Jenni Maier

        Thank you!

      • Sarah E.

        I had a long post written out and then realized the “best reviewed movie of the year” bit may be sarcasm… If not let me know.

    • David Brennan

      Thanks I will never read one of your reviews again. The moment your stated the Borat movie did not work I was done. The Bruno character was shit and even though I paid to watch the film it was never going to be very good. He had taken Ali G too far before the movie, so I agree there was not enough material to sustain a feature length film.

      However I personally thought Borat was one of the funniest films ever released. The Dictator was not as good but it was far better than the vast majority of utterly pathetic so-called comedies Hollywood keeps trying to push upon us, on a seemingly weekly basis recyling the same old ideas and the same old jokes. I would have to give Sacha credit for trying something different from the norm even if it wasn’t hysterically funny, but it is. Ok I think everyone can agree that film and or comedy is subjective and I have no problem if people dissagree with me and didn’t find the film very amusing.

      So you weren’t ROFL’ing, you didn’t like the film but to suggest The Dictator has ”killed his career” is just self indulgent drivel and more likely an attemp at a sensationalist headline to get people clicking on this review. I would suggest writing this may have more of a chance of killing yours.

      • Jenni

        Well David, be honest, how long do I have left before I should start looking for a new one?

    • Socius

      Hahaha….I had written a long response written, then saw the article was written by a woman and deleted it. You’re just as bad as that woman who went to a Tosh.0 show, and complained about a rape joke. Know what you’re going to watch, and what it’s intended to be.

      Putting the childishness aside, I’ll give you a very good example of why some shows work or don’t work. There was a TV Series called Blue Mountain State. In my opinion, the first and 3rd season of the show were absolutely incredible and think it’s one of the best series ever made. However…the show only made 1 episode per month, for 3 years, then shut down. Because it went for a certain demographic. For those people, it was brilliant. For the others, it was crude and vulgar and completely unenjoyable.

      The same can be said about Borat, Bruno, and The Dictator. You have to be the right type of person to go and enjoy watching these movies. My only real problem with The Dictator is that I would have liked to see more time spent during his rule as The Dictator because what I saw during that time was indeed funny. It lost a lot of its comedic value once he was dropped off in New York. Or at least they should have played off of his ego and self-centered nature more while there.

      All in all though, the movie was pretty much exactly what I expected. And I’m glad I didn’t have to see any ass to mouth or male nudity scenes in this movie. Your review is far too critical. And I think you simply don’t “get it” and what it’s supposed to be. You view the democracy speech as the point the movie was trying to get to, and spent 80 minutes doing so. Your problem is right there. His movies are just what they are. There is no big point to it. I thought the speech was hilarious but I didn’t feel as though it was important or that it was something the movie was building up towards. It was more of a “hey…know what would be funny?” type of addition.

      • Jenni

        I almost got offended by this comment, then I remembered I’m a woman and I actually legally have to respect what a man says. So I guess you’re right, I’m wrong.

      • Socius

        See, this I can agree with.

      • SiNoCiDe

        I think your review is quite hateful and extremely biased due to a few things thing you didn’t like without giving it any praise for the many goods this movie delivered.

        In your reply to Socius I noticed that your just another shrewd vixen who has no understanding of true film journalism, in addition to that you need to keep your emotions out of your work. But then again what do I know right? However judging from your following it seems that many would agree with me.

      • Toshiro Hiroyuki

        no your mad because he’s being honest crude and vulgar and completely unenjoyable no hate there at all that’s exactly why he’s failing in movies and not making very many

    • Jenni, you suck

      Attention seeking badly written review

      • Jenni

        Well on the upside we spell our name the same way. And that’s neat, because it’s super rare to see the I.

    • Jimmy

      Seriously!! You call this a review!
      well, I call this a peice of crap! Go suck some balls Jenni.

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    • Toshiro Hiroyuki

      sacha is creeper big creeper he makes borat where’s he wrestles naked with fat guy shows his dick in borat and his sons dick bruno he shows his dick dancing then he moves to voice acting in kids movies this guy will never known by my kids

    • Toshiro Hiroyuki

      borat was funny but then he keeps making these gay types of movies where he talks about his dick and shows it as if he’s gay