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With 'The Dictator,' is Sacha Baron Cohen's act getting old?

Posted by Glenn Yoder  May 15, 2012 05:03 PM

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Following in the footsteps of Sacha Baron Cohen's title characters in "Borat" and "Bruno," the British actor has unleashed another of his characters upon us, Admiral General Aladeen in "The Dictator."

Instead of a Kazakh journalist seeking Pamela Anderson or an Austrian fashionista seeking fame, Aladeen is a ruthless foreign head of state who, like the others, gets plopped into America. Last month, we got an extended peek at the character when Paramount released the movie's opening scene.

So, is this just more of the same from Cohen? In his review, Globe critic Wesley Morris says the new film actually doesn't follow the same idea as its predecessors, which "were largely improvisational comedies in pursuit of cultural friction. The suspense in those movies resided in whether Cohen's exploitative approach to comedy would work without seeming desperate or cruel. The new movie is mostly a scripted comedy with glimmers of improvisation, but it doesn't have the ambition to even risk seeming cruel."

Even if "The Dictator" looks similar to "Borat" and "Bruno," has Cohen scaled it back? What do you think of his characters? Will you see "The Dictator"?

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Ty Burr is a film critic with The Boston Globe.

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