The Dictator

MPA Rating: R-Rating (MPA) for strong crude and sexual content, brief male nudity, language and some violent images.

Reviewed by: Dan Willis

Moral Rating: Extremely Offensive
Moviemaking Quality:
Primary Audience: Adults
Genre: Comedy Satire
Length: 2 hr.
Year of Release: 2012
USA Release: May 16, 2012 (wide—2,800+ theaters)
DVD: August 21, 2012
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Relevant Issues
Copyright, Paramount Pictures Corporation

satirical humor—good and proper uses in movies, versus bad uses

Why is excessive public vulgarity, obscenity and promiscuity a bad thing for people and society?

article: “The Blue Tube: Foul Language on Prime Time Network TV—a Parents Television Council State of the Television Industry Report

How do I know what is right from wrong? Answer

Are we living in a moral Stone Age? Answer

“…God gave them over to a reprobate mind… Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity… backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things… without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful…” —Romans 1:18–32

“…in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers… despisers of those that are good… heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God… led away with divers lusts, ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” —2 Timothy 3:1–7

egomaniac Middle Easterm leader

oppressive dictatorship versus democracy and freedom

xenophobia—intense or irrational dislike or fear of people from other countries

war on terrorism

FILM VIOLENCE—How does viewing violence in movies affect families? Answer

“VOTING” FOR BAD MOVIES—Every time you buy a movie ticket or rent a video you are casting a vote telling Hollywood “That’s what I want.” Why does Hollywood continue to promote immoral programming? Are YOU part of the problem? Answer

Featuring Megan FoxHerself
Sacha Baron CohenGeneral Aladeen
Anna Faris
Ben Kingsley
John C. Reilly
B.J. Novak
J.B. Smoove … Usher
See all »
Director Larry Charles
Producer Four by Two Films
KanZaman Services
See all »
Distributor: Paramount Pictures Corporation. Trademark logo.
Paramount Pictures Corporation
, a subsidiary of ViacomCBS

“The Dictator” is Sacha Baron Cohen’s latest film. The director and mastermind behind “Borat” and “Brüno” now turns his eyes on the Middle East crisis. Crafting himself as the ruler/dictator of a fictional East African nation of Waddiya who is pursuing the enrichment of nuclear arms.

The film’s big twist comes when the American government kidnaps, and instead of torturing, shears the Dictator, altering his appearance and taking his infamous beard. The film is now about a ruthless dictator left to wander the streets and wrestle with stereotypical American ignorance.

This film is rife with reasons to avoid it. It is an endless reel of racism, anger, swearing, lewd sex jokes, and awful stereotypes. There is nothing moral anywhere in this entire film, with the exception of the commentary it is offering on the stereotypes we hold of people.

Spiritually, this film is completely void of anything of value. The only spiritual concept that this film can lay claim to is proof of the total depravity of man and the concept of Romans 1:26 that those who pursue fleshly things God hands over to be consumed by their desire.

The bottomline? Avoid this one, at all costs. There is nothing to be gained by watching this film. The jokes are stale, overdone and not funny. The humor is distasteful and completely unnecessary. Save yourself the hour and a half and skip this one.

Violence: Heavy / Foul language: Extreme—f-words (19) usually used with “mother”, various vulgar terms for male and female anatomy, sexual act, etc. / Sex/Nudity: Heavy to extreme, and very vulgar

“VOTING” FOR BAD MOVIES—Every time you buy a movie ticket or rent a video you are casting a vote telling Hollywood “That’s what I want.” Why does Hollywood continue to promote immoral programming? Are YOU part of the problem? Answer

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Positive—omygoodness. I have not laughed so long and so hard in SUCH a long time! The movie bashed everything and everyone that it possibly could, but the outcome was hilarious! The movie has less profanity than usual movies, but the sexual content and language is awful. I saw the Unrated edition that included more nudity.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
Jason, age Stevens (Canada)
Movie Critics
“…Political satire is as old as ancient Greece, and Jonathan Swift, Mark Twain, Charlie Chaplin, the Marx Brothers and Mel Brooks are among those commentators whose subversive critiques of their era's bullies and bigotry spoke truth to power. But ‘The Dictator’ has no clothes. … It's hard to say which scenes are more outrageous: a video game based on the massacre of Israeli Olympic athletes, the severed head of a black man used as a hand puppet, or the loss of his cellphone in the womb of a woman about to give birth. …”
Duane Dudek, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
“…descending into a rat-a-tat rhythm of random insult and ritual vulgarity. It's a letdown, and a loss. …”
Joe Morgenstern, The Wall Street Journal
“…Sir Ben Kingsley, in particular, flounders as a scheming ­member of his cabinet, unable to find the right balance between menace and straight-faced lunacy. Director Larry Charles, meanwhile, brings the same slapdash style to ‘The Dictator’ that he did to ‘Borat’ and ‘Brüno,’ always happy to linger longer than necessary on the gross, the insulting, and the politically or sexually shocking. …”
Lisa Schwarzbaumm, Entertainment Weekly
“…Better than Bruno, not as audacious as Borat. … Sacha Baron Cohen's shotgun blasts of scabrous humor hit more than they miss in ‘The Dictator,’ a self-consciously outrageous send-up of a mad-dog Middle Eastern autocrat…”
Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter
“…rude and goofy… spends far too much time on Aladeen’s stream of sexual and racial insults… More misses than hits in this tortured comedy…”
Liam Lacey, The Globe and Mail
“…It's maddeningly uneven… crude nonsense… Then comes the golden ticket, the speech of speeches, the scene in which the fictional North African dictator General Admiral Haffaz Aladeen addresses a gathering in New York City, recanting his barbarous ways with a heartfelt confessional. You Americans don't know how good you have it here, he states. Where he comes from, he says, the top 1 percent controls most of the wealth. Leaders can't wait to wage war on the wrong country. And on and on he goes. …”
Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune
“…Several good comedic jabs are delivered along the way, but the film’s overall pace is fitful and its targets soft. …” [2½/5]
Marjorie Baumgarten, The Austin Chronicle
“…Not so great. …Having Aladeen deliver a baby in the aisle of the health food store reeks of desperation in a movie that contains far too many stale gay-panic gags. …”
Lou Lumenick, New York Post
“…The movie isn’t bad enough to be a career killer… [but] every genuine laugh and creative gag in ‘The Dictator’ is negated by a cheap or ugly joke…” [1½/4]
Rene Rodriguez, The Miami Herald
“…potential is mostly squandered in ‘The Dictator,’ which gestures halfheartedly toward topicality and, with equal lack of conviction, toward pure, anarchic silliness. …the main insult of ‘The Dictator’ is how lazy it is.”
A.O. Scott, The New York Times

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