Sacha Baron-Cohen in the childish bloodthirsty despot named General Aladeen, the titular head of Wadiya, a fictitious North African republic. His wild unanswered ways happen to draw ”unwanted” attention to him and the UN demands that he address them about his nuclear weapons program.
While in New York he is set up by his own Chief of Staff (Ben Kingsley) and kidnapped by his U.S. security envoy played by John C. Reilly, who cuts off his signature moustache. A clean-shaven Aladeen, still wrapped in his formidable set of prejudices, is helped by a do-gooding feminist called Zoe (Anna Faris), who mistakes him for the ”oppressed” and employs him in her whole-food store. Her store, in true SBC is filled with racial stereotypes that are just ridiculous.
In the narrative there’s a severed head, a masturbatory hallucination, 9/11 terrorism joke to provide mild comedy, and a scene in which Aladeen and Zoe have to deliver a baby falls very flat. The narrative is lazy and we have seen SBC and Larry Charles do a lot better than this.
Sir Ben Kingsley, in particular, flounders as a scheming member of his cabinet, unable to find the right balance between menace and straight-faced lunacy, all in all he isn’t believable and was sometimes uncomfortable to watch, in fact that can be said about the whole cast. Even Megan Fox, and my husband Edward Norton couldn’t make me raise a smile.
Probably the best scene in the film is where Aladeen fires off a speech that hammers home the similarities between democratic and dictatorial regimes. It’s a brilliant moment, and one that drew an emphatic round of applause from the audience at the film’s UK premiere when I watched it a few years back.
This is a bad film. This what happens when certain comedians mix politics with humour! Right off to watch Team America, a film that got it right! (The moment when you know the film industry has problem is when puppets can do a better job at making us laugh better than humans).
Director: Larry Charles
Stars: Sasha Baron Cohen, Anna Faris, Ben Kingsley, Jason Mantzoukas
Runtime: 83 mins
Enjoy the trailer