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The Dictator: More Like Borat or Bruno?

When moviegoers flock to The Dictator this Wednesday most of them will be wondering the same thing. No, not, “Why don’t movie theatres allow refills on large popcorn anymore?” Although that is definitely a valid question worth looking into. But instead they’ll be asking, “Is this movie more like Borat or Bruno?”

To anyone who knows what they’re talking about, they will of course hope that The Dictator ends up being like Borat. The 2006 film was one of the funniest and most clever movies in recent memory, and Sacha Baron Cohen’s brand of incredibly hilarious and even more incredibly offensive comedy was given a platform to shine through and make audiences everywhere laugh. After Borat, it was difficult to find someone who wasn’t quoting the Kazakh journalist or wearing a t-shirt that said “Very Nice!” on it.

On the other hand however, The Dictator might end up being like Bruno. Bruno of course being the 2009 film that everyone tried so hard to like but ultimately ended up hating. Bruno was mostly scripted, offensive just for the sake of being offensive, and filled with gratuitous nudity in an attempt to get laughs that just weren’t there. Have you ever heard anyone quote Bruno? Yes? Well then, immediately stop associating with that person because they most likely have terrible taste in movies.

But now we get to The Dictator. After months of trailers and TV commercials and media appearances by the dictator himself, Sacha Baron Cohen, we’ve finally arrived at it’s release date. The film, for the somehow unaware, follows the dictator of the fictional North African country of Wadiya, General Aladeen, and his trip to New York and ensuing goal to ensure that democracy never comes to his country. The film itself is Baron Cohen’s first fully scripted affair, and plays out much like a romantic comedy. But anyways, how does the film stack up against its racist, homophobic, sexist, and offensive counterparts?

First off, the film is only about an hour and 15 minutes long. While in the theatre, it feels like watching a TV show since it’s so short, it still packs enough punch to fill about three movies if it wanted to. The Dictator succeeds because its laughs are so tightly condensed. Because of this, it’s hard not to laugh at least every minute.

In The Dictator, not only did Baron Cohen not shy away from the offensive material that has made him such a polarizing figure, but he also actually managed to up the intensity of everything he does. There’s jokes about terrorism, jokes about mass murder, jokes about abortion, and jokes about rape. And it’s impossible not to laugh at all of them.

While Bruno would have had these jokes, the film would have only lightly touched upon each of them and still followed it up with an uninteresting story. And a dick shot. In Borat, the jokes would have been said, said again, and then said again until the point where everyone on screen was incredibly uncomfortable and everyone in the theatre was dying of laughter.

So what we have with The Dictator is something that is right in between Borat and Bruno; but still leaning heavily towards Borat’s side.  The film contains all of the comedy that you would expect, but follows it up with a plot that is a little less stellar than that of Borat, and a whole lot better than that of Bruno. The Dictator takes real life situations and things that should in no way be humorous and turns them into some of the funniest things that have been seen on screen in a long time, and then does it again. And again. And again. For an hour and 15 minutes.

Jake Horowitz

Easily the most sarcastic, snarky, and opinionated writer on Scene Creek, Jake has been a staff writer with us since 2011 where he has entertained readers with his semi-weekly segment, "All Questions Answered." After writing for Collider.com and other outlets around the web, Jake has found his home at Scene Creek where he has spawned numerous features, reviews, and recurring segments that serve to enlighten, confuse, and infuriate readers. Most of Jake's time is spent writing for television or watching television, but in his spare time he will interact with readers and fans and post witty one-liners on his Twitter account. Favorite Movies: Rain Man, Social Network, Toy Story 3