The Dictator

  • Review Date: May 15, 2012
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 2012
  • Running Time: 83 minutes

Common Sense Media says

More envelope-pushing humor from Borat comedian.
  • Review Date: May 15, 2012
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 2012
  • Running Time: 83 minutes

Age(i)

2
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17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

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

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.

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.

Parents say

Kids say

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?

QUALITY
 

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. 

Families can talk 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

Theatrical release date:May 16, 2012
DVD release date:August 21, 2012
Cast:Anna Faris, John C. Reilly, Sacha Baron Cohen
Director:Larry Charles
Studio:Paramount Pictures
Genre:Comedy
Run time:83 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:strong crude and sexual content, brief male nudity, language and some violent images

This review of The Dictator was written by

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  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

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  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
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  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Teen, 17 years old Written bydavyborn May 19, 2012
AGE
17
QUALITY
 

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 running time, it still manages to feel rather overlong, and a tad forced. Still, The Dictator is a embracingly stupid, crude, disturbing and overall utterly ridiculous raunchfest, which is certainly sure to satisfy it's prime targets, with me being included. While ti certainly wasn't as good as Borat, or even Bruno, the Dictator is a decent enough comedy to watch during this years summer movie season, as more or less a comical alternative, or break, to all of those big budget summer movie action blockbusters that are going to be coming in drove for the next few months, now. Now, the Dictator tell's the "heroic" story of how general Alladeen (Sacha Baron Cohen) managed to stand up for what he believed in in order to change the face of his country, which is dictatorship, communism, anti-freedom and civil rights. Now, since General Alladeen manages to take a bit of a tour through New York City during during 90% of the movies running time, and that some of the fish out of water jokes are a bit tired, including some frequent banter with co-star Ann Faris, the two of them still keep the film fully afloat, not to mention with a bit of help from the other cast members, which include Ben Kingsley (imagine that!) and numerous hilarious cameos from celebrities, including Megan Fox, Edward Norton and others. But, since this movie is Rated R, parents need to be aware of the type of content that Sacha Baron Cohen deals with as a comedian, and that he has been dealing with in his past two films, but, here we go: The film contains a literal non-stop barrage of strong crude and sexual content throughout, which includes a very brief scene of a woman's breasts being milked, thong and bra-clad slaves being told to pleasure a man, a extremely graphic but comical birth scene where we see several shots of the inside of a woman's vagina, with several objects including a cell phone and two peoples hands being inserted into it; also, there are several shots of full frontal male nudity of the main lead, with most of them being close-ups, and will make most people in the audience terribly uncomfortable, but it is all very funny stuff; and, finally, there is even a scene where the main character is taught how to masturbate, which involves bizarre images of what he is masturbating to, overly-exaggerated shots of his outrageous arm movements, and even several shots of his semen covered tissue paper. Also, there is some occasional violent content, including several very graphic, but very crude and funny images of a mans decapitated head being used as the pawn in several jokes. And, finally, there is frequent but fairly average profanity for a R Rated movie, but it does include several uses each of f--k, sh-t, d-mn, h-ll, b-tch and b-strd. So, even though The Dictator had me laughing frequently, and hard, it just wasn't enough to make the entire movie completely worth paying for, but as I see it, it is still definitely a must for fans of Sacha Baron Cohen, just like me.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Educator Written byFYI May 17, 2012
AGE
18
QUALITY
 

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 kids get exposed to and how celebrities insist on pushing limits then call it entertainment
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Teen, 14 years old Written byhalilmejia May 16, 2012
AGE
18
QUALITY
 

not for kids

this movie includes explicit sex scenes that may be to strong for teens 15 and under
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much sex
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

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