IT was the Arctic Monkeys who sang that D was for Dangerous. But when it comes to Sacha Baron Cohen’s new film D is for disappointing. The actual title and premise is promising and when you have the brains behind Borat, Bruno, Ali G you expect a goal as sure as you would when Lionel Messi is provided with an open goal after fancy footwork by his team mates at Barcelona.
The Dictator sees Baron Cohen bring his usual shtick with a cacophony of sexual innuendo’s, goofiness and risqué attitudes to sensitive issues. There is a pushing of the boundaries but it is the wrong boundaries that are pushed in this film.
The biggest problem is not with the characters, something that Baron Cohen is blessed at being able to play with an effervescent glow. Aladeen is a larger than life goofball character, comprised of Gaddafi’s eccentricities, Jong-Il’s madness and Assad’s penchant for western goodies.
The fault lies at the heart of the plot. Instead of getting a topical lampooning of Dictatorial figures and their sometimes, sometimes not western allies in their natural environment, we get a conventional fish out of water love story. This sub plot struggles for supremacy with the main plot which is Aladeen’s attempt to get back into power, after being turned on and being replaced by an equally goofy double.
Aladeen’s travails living in New York are funny, what do you expect? But aside from a few exchanges involving Ben Kingsley’s character and the scene where Aladeen rips up the constitution – the chance to hold aloft the proverbial cinematic mirror to all world leader’s failings and eccentricities is missed, making this film feel like a missed opportunity.
Having said that the jokes come thick and fast, and judging by the audience reaction it was a good job Baron Cohen didn’t go to town with the inside political jokes with many whizzing over the paying punters heads. In essence the film has a little for everyone, with no previous knowledge of the political landscape required although it does help add to the enjoyment during certain passages in the film.
Ultimately The Dictator is disappointing, but not an outright disappointment. Especially when Baron Cohen still retains the capability of pulling off quips such as that of Ahmedinejad looking like a snitch from Miami Vice, and signing off the film with “Are you having a boy or an abortion?”