I had a weird experience yesterday, a self-reflecting experience. It was while watching Sacha Baron Cohen’s latest comedy venture ‘The Dictator’.
Now I should start off by saying that I loved Borat: Cultural Learnings of America For Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan. Who didn’t? Not only did I love it, it was genuinely the funniest movie experience I’ve ever had in the cinema. There were moments where I couldn’t breathe cause I was laughing so hard. Then came Brüno. It was no Borat, but it made me laugh considerably. Now we have The Dictator. As we all know, it’s not an unscripted interviewee-laden mockumentary like the others. Instead it’s a fairly straight forward comedy film. In fact it’s formatted in the reverse-order of Ali G Indahouse, which I also liked.
Plot: Admiral General Hafez Aladeen is the oppressive ruler of his home country, Wadeya. He travels to New York in order to address the United Nations and, in doing so, is kidnapped. He has his beard cut off, making him unrecognisable, and is released into the bowels of American society.
I think we all know the life-lessons that will be learnt along the way, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be fun right? Wrong.
The Dictator, how much did I laugh at thee? Let me count the ways… ONCE!
I laughed once in this movie. Now don’t get me wrong, this movie is not boring in its other aspects. It actually has outrageous moments that surpass anything in Borat and Bruno. Still, they’re not funny. They’re just over-the-top for the sake of being over-the-top. I wanted to laugh, I really did, but instead I just sat there with this stupid smile on my face thinking…
Everyone around me was laughing hysterically, which got me thinking; is it me? Do I not have a sense of humour? I laughed at Borat, I know I did. So why is this movie as amusing to me as a snail race. What am I not getting? Can your sense of humour erode. Does it have a half-life?
I ended up with the conclusion that “the film is boring and the audience is stupid”. It made me feel better at the time, but obviously not fulfilled in the quest to dissect my own gaiety.
Anyways, back to the movie. Like I said, it’s not funny. At least it wasn’t from where I was sitting, which was the perfectly-placed middle front row of the top balcony. The whole movie is a series of gags and jibs at dictatorship and middle-east ruling in general. It’s an excuse for Sacha to do what he thinks he does best, mock bigotry and zealotry. Unfortunately, in this instance, he appears to be scratching at the bottom of the barrel. I didn’t actively hate it, I just didn’t like it and most importantly… only laughed ONCE!
The Dictator (2012) trailer