Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

The Dictator


Sacha Baron Cohen can be a very funny man. I nearly hurt myself watching Borat: Cultural Learnings … etc., etc. I haven’t seen Brüno, but I intend to one of these days if I can talk Lee into seeing it. He can also be quite good as an actor, in small parts like the cop in Hugo and the barber in Sweeney Todd. (Where he showed he can sing, too. We’ll hear him again in the film I am most eagerly awaiting this Christmas season, which is the musical Les Misérables.) But this movie and Borat are basically collections of jokes, funny bits, put together and following a premise. It sounds like Brüno is, too. That’s okay, Mel Brooks does the same thing, though not as well as he used to. But it means some of the schticks work and some don’t. I’d say about 3/4ths of the bits here worked. A few fell very flat, like a long sequence with a woman giving birth that was gross and not funny. But individual lines and some of the bits border on genius. What I’m really waiting for is to see him tackle a little more grown-up comedy, without quite so much shock and awe. I think he has it in him.