The Dictator

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

Parents say

age 16+
Based on 7 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 52 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.

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byelizab3th January 6, 2019

Hilarious, but not for kids?

Don’t get me wrong, this movie is absolutely hilarious, but it is filled to the brim with off color jokes. There is also a scene or two with full frontal nudity... Continue reading
Adult Written byPepe A. August 12, 2016
Kid, 10 years old February 20, 2014

Honestly, this movie really isn't that bad. I saw it when I was 8 years old and I understood everything they were doing and saying and I didn't have a problem with it.

In my opinion, i'd rather see a movie like this than Riddick or something like that. This movie wasn't really the type of thing that made have nightma... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byThorthegodofthunder May 25, 2012

Very funny but also very vulgar.

Good movie for mature teens. This movie is very funny but many people would find the content in this movie offensive. Aladeen is very sexist, racist, and he dis... 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

Our editors recommend

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