Sacha Baron Cohen's film is funny for about half its running time, and the lack of improvisation in the movie is somewhat stifling.
Having used up, at least for now, the improv characters he developed in “Da Ali G Show," Sacha Baron Cohen in “The Dictator” has created a new one: the full-bearded Adm. Gen. Omar Aladeen, tyrant of the North African nation of Wadiya.
He’s the guy, you know, who spilled Kim Jong-il’s “ashes” on Ryan Seacrest at the Academy Awards. (The film is dedicated to the memory of the late Korean dictator.)
On the laughmeter “The Dictator” is closer to “Borat” than to the misfired “Bruno,” which is to say it’s funny for about half of its brisk 83 minutes. This time out Baron Cohen is working with a script and professional actors throughout (including Ben Kingsley as a Wadiyan big shot), and the lack of improvisation is somewhat stifling. He’s at his best and most daring when he’s riffing in unplanned situations.