The Dictator

Movie review by
S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media
The Dictator Movie Poster Image
More envelope-pushing humor from Borat comedian.
  • R
  • 2012
  • 83 minutes
Popular with kids

Parents say

age 16+
Based on 6 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 49 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Believe it or not, there is a bit of a life lesson amid The Dictator's crude content, rampant stereotyping, and all-around wackiness -- basically, that you shouldn't write anyone off entirely, because in rare cases, there may be hope for even the people who seem the most extreme.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Zoey is kind and passionate about human rights and the environment. She's a curious love interest for a dictator, that's for sure, but she certainly has that proverbial heart of gold. Aladeen himself, on the other hand, is offensive, sexist, selfish, violent, and arrogant -- though he's also clearly intended to be a larger-than-life parody. And there's a ton of stereotyping/humor designed to mock specific groups; it's all intended for laughs, but it's guaranteed to offend some viewers.

Violence

Cartoonish violence with lots of talk (and gestures) about killing people, but no gore. Some scenes involve assassinations and include references to genocide. Aladeen brandishes weapons, and there's a scene in which instruments of torture are discussed at length for their effectiveness. Aladeen is ruthless and quick to order the death of those who have failed him, but not all of his orders are carried out.

Sex

Aladeen is randy, and so is The Dictator. One scene shows brief full-frontal male nudity; women are also shown topless, and scenes depict masturbation. Lots of references to/suggestions of one-night stands and various sex acts. An early scene shows Aladeen having sex with a famous actress in a prostitution-like exchange; she's very skimpily dressed.

Language

Language includes frequent use of words including "s--t," "p---y," "f--k," "c--k," "d--k," and "a--hole," as well as tons of derogatory/racist terms.

Consumerism

Lamborghini, Exxon, BP, Rolex, Polaroid, and a few other brands/labels are name-dropped or shown.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

People drink champagne and other cocktails and liquor at parties. Some smoking shown.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Borat creator Sacha Baron Cohen's comedy The Dictator is extremely crass, politically incorrect, ridiculous, silly -- and quite funny. If you have a thick skin, you can't help but laugh at Cohen, who this time doesn't mine the humor found in punking unsuspecting people but instead gets guffaws by playing an extremely over-the-top dictator with campy relish. Expect tons of swearing (including "f--k" and derivations thereof, as well as many derogatory/racist terms) and sexual jokes/references, as well as topless women and a brief flash of full-frontal male nudity. As always, Baron Cohen doesn't shy away from stereotype-based humor that's likely to offend; instead, he embraces it.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byFYI May 17, 2012

Enter at your own risk

although he is witty there are many off color ethnic jokes, references to anal sex and raping. and it is filled with twisted humor.Just another example of what... Continue reading
Adult Written bydreamcatcher14 July 8, 2013

Nothing funny about it

I think this movie is vulgar, and definitely NOT for children. It is hard at times to draw the line between what is "poking fun" at terrorism and sex... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byhalilmejia May 16, 2012

not for kids

this movie includes explicit sex scenes that may be to strong for teens 15 and under
Teen, 17 years old Written bydavyborn May 19, 2012

Sacha Baron Cohen brings more raunchy humor, racial stereotypes, uncomfortable moments

Larry Charles latest collaboration with ever-publicized comedian Sacha Baron Cohen, The Dictator, is funnier than you think, but even at a cramped 83 minute run... Continue reading

What's the story?

Admiral General Aladeen (Sacha Baron Cohen) is reviled the world over for his universal disdain for peace and justice and anything that remotely allows countries to get along. He's a war monger who disrespects his own people and is more interested in bedding the latest Hollywood starlet than trying to bring democracy to his country. And he's rich, thanks to his country's bounty of oil (which he prefers to keep for the country's use). But then, while on a trip to the United Nations, Aladeen's uncle (Ben Kingsley) gets him out of the way so that he can put a doppelganger in Aladeen's place, one who will sign over his dictatorship to make way for "democracy" -- in other words, the ability to sell oil to the highest bidders. Aladeen is shocked and, somehow, must rely on a peace-loving organic grocer named Zoey (Anna Faris) to regain power.

Is it any good?

The DICTATOR is a guilty pleasure, full of jokes that cue both laughter and a small helping of shame. Make no mistake about it, General Aladeen is a nasty piece of work: offensive, sexist, selfish, violent (though he apparently has never killed anyone, despite what he thinks), and arrogant. But he's also incompetent and silly and, in a not-so-surprising twist, capable of having a heart.

A brazen comedy, The Dictator works for the most part because it boldly goes where many filmmakers never go for fear of lousing it up and coming across as completely bonkers and insensitive. Just don't go looking for fully realized characters or a deeper analysis of the state of global affairs, because there aren't any here. It's just satire out to shock -- and plenty of laughs. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about deliberately offensive humor. Does Baron Cohen's brand of stereotype-driven, purposely offensive humor have a larger point, or is it just meant to shock viewers into laughter?

  • For all its jokes, does The Dictator have any underlying truths about politics and government?

  • How does The Dictator compare to Baron Cohen's other films? Which style do you prefer?

Movie details

For kids who love offbeat humor

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