MOVIES IN REVIEW: THE DICTATOR
Funnier than Bruno. Less funny than Borat.
I liked this film because it was small. 88 minutes and out. A marginally funny character/idea. A handful of clever bits and jokes, barely strung together and then time’s up before it wears out its welcome (very unlike Dark Shadows). It was not going for epic re-inventing comedy scope like Borat, just to make a funny little movie. It had the feeling of a ramshackle 70’s comedy much more than the successors of those films which poisoned film comedy forever - the SNL skit adaptation which needed to justify turning something as slight as a two minute skit into a feature film by building a giant and always tedious apparatus around the central gag.
Although the conceit of building a movie around a Moammar Gadhafi impression already feels a little stale, Baron Cohen when he puts his mind to it is a brilliant enough comic actor to jolt some life into an obvious gag. Some of the jokes I found quite funny. As for the shock humor assiduously stepping on every third rail in western culture, I appreciate the effort but mostly that felt too contrived, more trying hard to offend than the result of any great comic inspiration. The bawdy humor came dangerously close to Austin Powers territory to me. (I don’t mean that as a compliment. Austin Powers Territory = lazy cracking one’s self up with one’s own ability to be naughty comedy).
Not an Earth-shattering film, but funny enough I say. Amidst of a bleak season, a minor ray of light.
The Rushfield Babylon Recommendation: 6 stars out of 10. Maybe 6.5.