Tuesday, July 24, 2012
Got to watch the advanced screening of The Dictator earlier this evening thanks to a friend. This is my first time to watch a full length Sacha Baron Cohen movie since I missed Borat and Bruno, though I'm familiar with the controversies that accompanied the previous films. As is my usual practice with watching any movie these days I left all expectations at the door so as not to prejudge anything and to let the movie carry its own weight (barring a rather predictable movie trailer and that incident on the red carpet with Ryan Seacrest months ago). What I saw in the movie though didn't prepare me as to how low Mr. Cohen would go to top his previous movies.
First off let me say that I'm no stranger to offensive movies having grown up with films notably by Mel Brooks and the Wayan brothers (not to mention Joey de Leon films on the local front) among others but this one takes the cake. There were racist, sexist, bathroom, homosexual, and rape jokes. Jokes about necrophilia, murder, national tragedy, ethnicity, excrement, pedophilia, gender-based abortion, full frontal nudity, playing with body parts (both dead and alive), etc. It was an all-out assault of juvenile humor you'd either react with shock or, like most of the audience did, laugh out loud at the way it constantly pushes the envelope. If he had to top his previous films then he had to naturally resort to a level lower than he went to but it makes you wonder what kind of jokes he'll try to come up with in his next movie?
There were a few genuinely funny scenes though, but these were far in between. All in all there were mixed reactions from me and my friends afterwards as we tried to pick out the ones that we could recall and discuss without being awkward about it. The movie distributor opted to exclusively show the film without cuts and I guess it was a privilege to those in the audience but the shock value was more than what I asked for. Or wanted.
My gratitude to GeekMatic! and SOLAR-UIP for the ticket/invitation as well as the generous folks of Araneta Center and Gateway Mall who hosted the movie premier.
** Check out also the review in Plugged In Online for more insightful reactions to this movie.