Sacha Baron Cohen makes the transition from prankster documentary to feature comedy in The Dictator, and Kurt Loder says the results are surprisingly tame. The movie that relies, Loder writes in a new Reason.com review, not on queasy embarrassment, but solely on its story. Unfortunately, the story – a parody of a Middle Eastern autocrat not unlike the late Muammar Gaddafi – is strained, and the parody dated. Targeting a lunatic Islamist would have been audacious, if risky (I think we can assume that Cohen values his life). Taking aim at a more traditional madman with a chest full of bogus medals and a fondness for hot female bodyguards is risk-free, but toothless – Gaddafi already parodied himself, and was for decades a figure of media derision.
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