The Dictator

BASIL FRANCIS thinks with such a wide range of outrageous entertainment, The Dictator has the ability to generate huge laughs all the way through

Directed by Larry Charles


Let me start by saying that if you expect to sit through a Sacha Baron Cohen film without being offended, then you clearly know nothing about him. Those who are in any way squeamish towards the indecent treatment of women, children, Jews, Muslims, dead people, black people, 9/11 and/or rape should not see this film. Once again, Baron Cohen delivers a film that is about as respectful and sensitive as a 1955 Alabama bus driver.

Importantly, The Dictator is markedly different to Borat and Brüno, returning to a more conventionally scripted comedy film without relying on the outrageous reactions of unsuspecting non-actors. However, not all has changed. Once again, Baron Cohen portrays a foreigner speaking in broken English, this time a farcical send-up of Gaddafi with elements of other famous dictators thrown in. Once again, the character enjoys living in a bubble of oblivion and naivety, blissfully unaware of the offense he creates and under his thick shell of impudence, just wants to be loved.

A political film it may be, but The Dictator always stays close to its true goal: comedy. The movie is positively saturated with jokes, running gags, physical comedy, satire, dark humour, non-sequiturs and even something that would work as a standalone sketch, with varying levels of quality and political correctness throughout. Once again, Baron Cohen takes a very visceral approach to comedy, often taking rather risqué scenes and drawing them out much further than other comedic writers would dare, in an effort to make the audience squirm in their seats.

While I won’t divulge the elements of the plot, I will let on that it gets rather daft towards the middle. In particular, a scene where our main characters must deliver a baby together comes off as surreal and slightly out of place, but hilarious all the same. The plot feels designed around the jokes, but when I’m laughing this much, this isn’t really an issue.

You can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs and Sacha Baron Cohen has broken as many political eggs as he can to form a giant laughter omelette. With such a wide range of outrageous entertainment, the film has the ability to generate huge laughs all the way through, making this comedy a success as far as I’m concerned.


  • Tablash

    "While I won’t divulge the elements of the plot" – you, sir, are unique among cambridge reviewers.

  • Kim Jong-Un

    Well this film is getting banned…

  • MacFarlane

    I dictate that you guys watch my video!

    • There is

      literally someone wanking in your video

  • Matty McBroide

    Shit craic, like, a dictator.

  • Twitter Spy

    Love how your own editor disagrees with you on the twitter feed (he's right btw, this was shit, and not because it offended me (it didn't)

  • Pitchfork

    Review should have just been this picture:

  • phuqwhatyouheard

    I didn't think the film had enough funny bits for the length: they could have cut it to half an hour

  • #therat

    anyone who thinks this is nothing to do with cambridge clearly didn't notice my cameo appearance

  • Morgan Freeman

    lets not let johns forget about losing cuppers though

  • Tascha Caron Dohen

    "A political film it may be…"

    It really *really* isn't.

  • ???

    Your most inopportune means to long for someone you care about is being placed straight close to these individuals with the knowledge you will

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