New Release: Sacha Baron Cohen Takes the Throne as 'The Dictator'
Crude and clever and very funny
"The Dictator: Banned and Unrated" (Paramount) - After "Borat" and "Bruno," the tactics and talents of British comedian and satirist Sacha Baron Cohen are now too familiar to Americans for him to get away with his performance-art punking as social satire and moviemaking stunt.
So for "The Dictator," actor / writer / producer Baron Cohen forgoes all pretense of mock documentary or reality TV parody to make a big, crazy, outrageous comedy that rides roughshod over all boundaries of taste to make both its point and its punchlines. And "it's all the more focused and consistently funny for that," argues MSN film critic Glenn Kenny.
See an exclusive clip from the DVD / Blu-ray bonus footage below.
For this one, Baron Cohen plays Admiral General Aladeen the blithely brutal, oppressive, and self-aggrandizing dictator of the fictional North Africa nation of Wadiya, who gets accidentally deposed and replaced by a dazed and idiotic double (Baron Cohen again) on a trip to speak at the U.N.. To get back at his back-stabbing head of security (Ben Kingsley), he teams up with a dizzy activist health-food store manager (Anna Faris, still one of the funniest women in the movies today), despite her ungainly armpit hair and inexplicable compassion for oppressed refugees from brutal regimes.
More from Kenny: "The deglammed Faris is a target for a lot of Aladeen's incredibly crass and crude putdowns. Indeed, the volume of sophomoric humor here is pretty staggering, particularly considering the picture comes in at barely 90 minutes. But here Baron Cohen balances the stupid, outrageous, over-the-top stuff with almost, ahem, radically provocative observations and pronouncements, and tops the whole thing off with a speech that is a grandstand play in the same mode as the one that ended the aforementioned "Great Dictator," only quite a bit funnier and more unsettling."
Available on Blu-ray and DVD on Tuesday, August 21.
The single-disc DVD features both the R-rated theatrical version and extended unrated version (which features over 15 minutes of additional footage), plus five deleted / extended scenes and the full "Larry King Interview" glimpsed in the movie.
The Blu-ray+DVD editions includes all the above, along with ten additional deleted and extended scenes (some, though not all, incorporated into the Unrated edition), a bonus DVD edition, and both a digital copy (downloadable through iTunes) and an Ultraviolet copy for download and instant streaming.
Also available On Demand in the extended Unrated version.
Here's a clip from the extended "Banned and Unrated" edition, exclusive to MSN, after the jump. Just click on "More" below.