Introducing The Dictator to the Vine--we need laughs in the midst of this Great Recession, our dueling candidates for president, death in Afghanistan, threats against Iran, and the plunging Euro.
What is it with our obsession with satirising dictators? Thank the Lord we have such an obsession. Meanwhile, we might ask whether Aristotle was correct when he suggested that the right genre for dramatising bad men is comedy not tragedy, or should it be beneath us to find power-crazed nutjobs funny?
Does the answer to this question really tell us anything we need to know?
"What Sacha always tries to do, with Borat, Brüno and even The Dictator, is to make sure your victims are worthy, so that there's a satirical aspect to the comedy," says Jeff Schaffer, co-screenwriter of The Dictator. "These aren't innocent victims." Well, Noam Chomsky was, but Ali G's "interview" with him was funny nonetheless. "Booyakasha! I'm here with my main man Professor Norman [sic] Chomsky," said Ali G at the start of a free-form interview that explored why the MIT linguist knew so many words and whether his cousin being bilingual would help his sex life.
In The Dictator, the fascistic, misogynistic, Zionist-hating North African despot is visiting New York to give a speech at the UN but is kidnapped and stripped of his identity (including his precious beard) and left to wander the city until he is rescued by an elfin grocery manager played by Anna Faris. As the equal-opportunities offender Aladeen rides on the back of her motorbike, she asks him to stop clutching her breasts. "Those are breasts? But I thought you were a man," the scandalised ex-despot retorts.
In one scene in the The Dictator, Aladeen is at the starting blocks of a 100m race. Not only is he a chief ophthalmologist but he's also Wadiya's leading sprinter. He fires his pistol to begin the race and then uses it to shoot competitors in neighbouring lanes...
We don't want to give anything away, including the end of this race (though you can peek at the link and see what happens).