Tag Archives: protagonist

The Dictator: An Actual Plot from Sacha Baron Cohen

I would say I’ve been a pretty big supporter and follower of Sacha Baron Cohen since his Ali G Show days. I loved all his characters when I watched it on HBO and to see them grow into full length movie characters is wonderful. Borat was a wonderful undercover comedy film. Then he followed that up with Bruno, my favorite of his alternate egos. And then, from all this talk about Hussein, Kim Jong-Il, and Gaddafi comes Admiral General Hafez Aladeen. His ability to focus in on one idea that plagues people’s prejudices and preconceived notions on the world around them is spot on as usual. But this one comes with a twist.

Aladeen (Cohen) is a dictator from the North of Africa. In the sweltering heat and tossing sands (a la Hussein), Aladeen lives his life as dictator in luxury. His WMD’s are coming

Aladeen and his majestic hawk, in luxury.

along, he has an all female amazonian entourage and guard, and his palace is so gigantic and wonderful, especially with his fleet of golden Hummers. He’s had sex with everyone (including the great Schwarzenegger. Megan Fox makes an appearance. I wasn’t surprised.) and he is an unforgiving ruler. He sends so many people to death that it’s expected.

As I expected Megan Fox to be in a situation like this…

And then, with the U.N. meeting in NYC looming, Aladeen is kidnapped and tortured. Clayton (John C. Reilly) is a forgiving CIA operative and lets Aladeen off with a shaven face (and then he accidentally burns to death). Stuck in America with only his wits and nobody who believes he’s the real thing, Aladeen’s uncle Tamir (Ben Kingsley) is planning on making Wadiya into a democratic country with the ability to sell their oil. Aladeen must stop them and keep Wadiya a dictatorship. This is the only time you’ll see a dictator as the hero/protagonist (unless you’re watching a film in their country, then probably you will).

This movie is full of a bunch of funny satirized stereotypes and Middle Eastern humor. As usual, Cohen self deprecatingly attacks his Jewish heritage once again. The Chinese law of one child per family is attacked with the baby birthing scene (as seen in the trailer) and masturbation has never been so patriotic. Sacha Baron Cohen is rather tame in this film in

The Man.

comparison to others, only one or two penises on screen and a handful of sexual references (unless you mention the Saw like birthing canal scene).

I really hoped this happened on the streets of NYC.

There’s a great supporting cast of cultural ecclesiastics  in this film. There’s Ben Kingsley, using his darker complexion to play a Middle Eastern man in this film. I’m always surprised when he pops up in comedies. Jason Mantzoukas plays Nadal, the weapons expert and friend to Aladeen in this movie. This man of Greek descent has been doing comedies for a while now and this is just another one. Bobby Lee rears his freaky head in this movie as a U.N. representative who can get a B.J. from whatever celebrity he wants (insert Ed Norton cameo here). His outrageous nature is made for this movie, and that dude will do anything to strip down into a thong. And one of my favorite appearances was Adeel Akhtar as one of Aladeen’s posse, Maroush. Throw in Fred Armisen and the revitalization of Anna Faris’s career as the love interest hippy, Zoe, and you got yourself a satirical comedy.

The best scene.

I really don’t think there’s anywhere that Sacha Baron Cohen won’t go. His terrorist attack scene in the tours helicopter is hilarious. Ironically, he and Jason Mantzoukas are speaking Hebrew. This points out the fact that a lot of languages, although all different may sound similar to an American audience. And all the iconic songs that he turned into an Aladeen medley! Everybody Hurts, 9 to 5, Let’s Get it On, how much that the way the songs were sung alone made me laugh! Cohen even goes to a black man’s funeral in order to procure a beard from a severed head that reappears constantly in the movie. With no bounds and no forgiveness, Sacha Baron Cohen delivers on all cylinders. 8.1 out of 10.

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Gulliver’s Travels: Jack Black at His Worse Worst

So there are very few reasons why this movie was at least decent. But the biggest reason this film flopped, straight up, is Jack Black. His atrocious act of not acting is what plain and simple killed this movie. It might’ve had a chance at being a decent children’s film if it had been any other comedic actor. Hell, Paul Rudd (my favorite comedic actor) would’ve made me buy this film before I watched it. It would be more

You suck Jack Black. Period.

entertaining with Cedric the Entertainer. I think this was Jack Black’s attempt to make a bit more bank on another terrible children’s film. I dread the day that Kung Fu Panda 2 comes out. And that’s soon. Ugh.

Besides Jack Black, there were some decent actors in this film. Jason Segel pulled off a more than decent English accent, which I commend highly. He is, I would say, one out of three actors that made this film okay. (It was only 85 minutes long, but any scene of Jack Black alone was agony.) Emily Blunt

You capture that Princess, Chris O'Dowd. You rule.

was quite beautiful and charming in this film, and, not having seen a lot of her films, this movie didn’t destroy her career. And, most importantly, Chris O’Dowd of The IT Crowd was in this film. He is, quite literally, the backbone of comedy in this film. He had more comedy in his moustache in this film than Jack Black had in his entire, gelatinous body. (And he was 100 times their size.) He was cynical, and always in the position of protagonist, and it worked out great for him. I’ve never seen him in a villainous role, but this was great. He keeps getting better.

Okay, now I should probably fill you in on the plot. Lemuel Gulliver (Jack Black) is a mail room clerk who wants to impress an editor at his work, Darcy (Amanda Peet). In order to do so, he fakes a travel piece, and then travels to the Bermuda Triangle to do a piece on the area. He is sucked into a reverse whirlpool and lands in Lilyput, the island of the small people. There he meets Princess Mary (Emily Blunt), her soon to be husband General Edward (Chris O’Dowd) and her father, King Theodore (Billy Connolly). He’s imprisoned, released, and saves the town with the help of fellow small person and Princess Mary’s true love, Horatio (Jason Segel). And that’s basically it.

Wedgie the shizz out of that waste of time actor.

I give this movie credit for one thing besides the supporting cast. The effects. In whatever way they had Jack Black interact with the small people, it looked spot on realistic. The interactions looked real, I mean. The tiny sets meshed perfectly with the close up shots on the smaller characters and the set uses were interesting. So I give the special effects crew a lot of credit for really creating a backbone for some of the comedy. (i.e. Urine fire) So, accompany that with a great performance from Chris O’Dowd and you have yourself a barely B-rated kid’s comedy. 4.4 out of 10.