Metascore
58

Mixed or average reviews - based on 41 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 41
  2. Negative: 4 out of 41
  1. Reviewed by: Stephanie Zacharek
    May 15, 2012
    85
    The Dictator, for all its liberal leanings, doesn't let anyone off the hook, not even well-intentioned liberals. Cohen comes right out and says things that most of us, in polite conversation, wouldn't dare. He knows it's the impolite conversation that really gets things moving.
  2. Reviewed by: Scott Tobias
    May 14, 2012
    83
    The Dictator keeps the gags coming as fast as it can manage, sometimes in big gross-out setpieces like an impromptu baby delivery, but more often in the general fusillade of hit-or-miss jokes that hit at a better-than-average rate.
  3. Reviewed by: Eric Kohn
    May 14, 2012
    83
    Transitioning back into a scripted dynamic after his quasi-documentary performance excursions with "Bruno" and "Borat," Baron Cohen loses none of his edge, combining slapstick inspiration and social commentary into a hilariously provocative blend.
  4. Reviewed by: Elizabeth Weitzman
    May 15, 2012
    80
    The easily offended will be appalled. The rarely offended may be appalled. But they'll have to stop laughing long enough to realize it.
  5. Reviewed by: Keith Uhlich
    May 14, 2012
    80
    Even the stoniest face will crack when Aladeen sums up our cultural moment in a rousing, uproarious climactic speech worthy of both Chaplin and Team America.
  6. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    May 11, 2012
    80
    Fans of the nasty Baron Cohen may regret his being borderline nice in The Dictator. But we should welcome his decision to stop being the best at something few others dare try and instead to inhabit a more familiar comedy style--just going denser, wilder, better. He pulls it off.
  7. Reviewed by: Nick Schager
    May 11, 2012
    80
    A superb vehicle for Sacha Baron Cohen's over-the-top socio-political outrageousness.
  8. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    May 11, 2012
    80
    Cohen employs a comic range that ricochets between wicked political barbs and the lowest anatomical farce, to often funny and occasionally hilarious effect.
  9. Reviewed by: Peter Bradshaw
    May 11, 2012
    80
    The Dictator isn't going to win awards and it isn't as hip as Borat. Big goofy outrageous laughs is what it has to offer.
  10. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    May 16, 2012
    75
    If Baron Cohen is going to continue making scripted comedies, he needs to work with directors far less slapdash than Larry Charles. He can be one of the funniest people on the planet, but he needs a real dictator – I mean, director – calling the shots.
  11. Reviewed by: Steven Rea
    May 16, 2012
    75
    Mixes its high and low comedy with surprising success.
  12. Reviewed by: Amy Biancolli
    May 15, 2012
    75
    The Dictator's over-the-top rant against the rank lunacy of authoritarianism deploys comedy like an act of violence; it's outrageous, quick and leaves us breathless, whether from laughter or shock.
  13. Reviewed by: Joe Williams
    May 15, 2012
    75
    Too short and undisciplined to be a world-class comedy, but its chutzpah deserves respect.
  14. Reviewed by: Roger Ebert
    May 11, 2012
    75
    The Dictator is funny, in addition to being obscene, disgusting, scatological, vulgar, crude and so on.
  15. 70
    The good news is that The Dictator is a loose and silly and occasionally exhilarating political farce in the tradition of Chaplin's The Great Dictator (obviously) and the Marx Brothers' antiwar masterpiece "Duck Soup." And it comes in at a fleet 83 minutes - just right.
  16. Reviewed by: Andrew O'Hehir
    May 16, 2012
    70
    Although the character of Aladeen seems awfully predictable by Baron Cohen standards, the movie itself veers from one hilarious, absurd and patently offensive setup to the next.
  17. Reviewed by: Steve Persall
    May 15, 2012
    67
    Even the smuttiest jokes about rape, torture and genitals have a more polished edge, sliding by without causing much offense. Watching actors portray alarm at Cohen's antics isn't as hilarious as civilians doing it for real.
  18. Reviewed by: Peter Travers
    May 16, 2012
    63
    The Dictator leaves you laughing helplessly. It starts at outrageous and rockets on from there. Screw the occasional sputter.
  19. Reviewed by: Lou Lumenick
    May 16, 2012
    63
    As for Baron Cohen, he's a great comic but his acting can still use work - most of his funniest lines appear to have been dubbed over other actors' reaction shots in post-production.
  20. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    May 15, 2012
    63
    After laughing at crudely funny scenes in The Dictator, there's a cringing sensation of guilt.
  21. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    May 11, 2012
    63
    Cohen at his best is both brazen and sly. As is The Dictator.
  22. Reviewed by: Betsy Sharkey
    May 15, 2012
    60
    By turns hysterical, heretical, guilty, innocent, silly, sophisticated, teasing and tedious.
  23. Reviewed by: James Mottram
    May 11, 2012
    60
    Outrageous, outlandish and overboard, The Dictator will satisfy Cohen's army of fans. But it never feels as funny, full-on or fresh as "Borat" and "Brüno."
  24. Reviewed by: Damon Wise
    May 11, 2012
    60
    Formulaic, yet scrappy, and extremely funny in fits and starts, General Aladeen is the first of Cohen comic creations to get a better vehicle than it probably deserves.
  25. Reviewed by: Peter Debruge
    May 11, 2012
    60
    Typically, political correctness couldn't be farther from the filmmakers' mind, and yet, what the picture most sorely lacks is the sort of humanist appeal Chaplin delivered at the close of "The Great Dictator."
  26. Reviewed by: Shawn Levy
    May 15, 2012
    58
    The Dictator has a few laughs along its bumpy path, but not enough of them to indicate that Cohen has found a means to escape the shadows of his early career and forge a second act for himself.
  27. Reviewed by: Marjorie Baumgarten
    May 16, 2012
    50
    A climactic speech on the lessons Western democracy might learn from Middle Eastern despotism offers a few moments of pure brilliance. I'd say that speech is worth the price of admission if it didn't also illustrate exactly what the film is missing: barbs that aim for the comedic bull's-eye.
  28. Reviewed by: Randy Cordova
    May 16, 2012
    50
    For the most part, the movie's rhythms feel slightly off -- there are long stretches without a laugh -- and there is a mean-spirited air to the whole thing.
  29. Reviewed by: Karina Longworth
    May 15, 2012
    50
    Even in its manufactured boundary-pushing - a flash of full-frontal Baron Cohen, another scene set partially inside a birth canal - The Dictator never really risks anything.
  30. Reviewed by: James Berardinelli
    May 15, 2012
    50
    One of the cleverest moments in Sacha Baron Cohen's The Dictator comes during the first five seconds: a memorial dedication to Kim Jong Il. It's all downhill from there.
  31. Reviewed by: Wesley Morris
    May 14, 2012
    50
    You're left with an inert, politically neutral movie, a satire that can't bring itself to properly satirize anything.
  32. Reviewed by: Liam Lacey
    May 11, 2012
    50
    While Baron Cohen's lanky physical slapstick and verbal manglings are funny, the movie begins to feel like one of the later, worn-out Pink Panther movies.
  33. Reviewed by: Lisa Schwarzbaum
    May 15, 2012
    42
    What's shocking this time is how tame Sacha Baron Cohen's newest wild man is, for all the kerfuffle the comedian can stir up on the ­promotional trail.
  34. Reviewed by: David Denby
    May 26, 2012
    40
    The Dictator, like its predecessors, is short (eighty-three minutes), but it runs down fast, and the lewd jokes pile up. [28 May 2012, p. 76]
  35. Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    May 17, 2012
    40
    Sacha Baron Cohen's tosses off some sensationally funny stuff before descending into a rat-a-tat rhythm of random insult and ritual vulgarity.
  36. Reviewed by: Dana Stevens
    May 17, 2012
    40
    The conventional meet-cute love story at the center of The Dictator feels like a bizarre concession to some nonexistent demographic that prefers its sick black comedy with a side of humanist sentiment.
  37. Reviewed by: A.O. Scott
    May 15, 2012
    40
    That potential is mostly squandered in The Dictator, which gestures halfheartedly toward topicality and, with equal lack of conviction, toward pure, anarchic silliness.
  38. Reviewed by: Rene Rodriguez
    May 14, 2012
    38
    The latest collaboration between Cohen and director Larry Charles proves the formula they created with "Borat" and then started to milk dry with "Brüno" has finally run out of juice. Time to move on, guys.
  39. Reviewed by: R. Kurt Osenlund
    May 12, 2012
    38
    Its dolly- and crane-operated polish points toward an acquiescence to Tinseltown mores, which until now Baron Cohen hovered cheekily above.
  40. Reviewed by: J.R. Jones
    May 15, 2012
    30
    Cohen probably thinks he's Charlie Chaplin lampooning Hitler, but of course Hitler was still on top of the world when "The Great Dictator" came out in 1940; Cohen is actually Chaplin's antithesis, a first-world bully content to target the Other.
  41. Reviewed by: Ann Hornaday
    May 14, 2012
    25
    Even amid the hit-and-miss broadsides and laugh-free longueurs that comprise most of The Dictator, Cohen's acute hypocrisy-detector keeps on ticking, if barely.
User Score
6.3

Generally favorable reviews- based on 394 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 62 out of 114
  2. Negative: 26 out of 114
  1. May 17, 2012
    3
    I saw this in the theater today, well the 30 opening minutes at least. they were bad enough for me to walk out. and i never walk out of movies. Loved Borat and thought Bruno was okay. But this is no good. The jokes were all either very simple or very stupid. Before this review gets too scathing i'm just gonna end here by saying: don't see it, or see it on video later. Full Review »
  2. May 23, 2012
    3
    A real missed opportunity... surprisingly jokeless. The best moment is his speech on the U.S. one day being a dictatorship and doing all the things they are already doing... but that was the one joke the audience didn't seem to get. Sad. Full Review »
  3. May 20, 2012
    7
    Very funny and a good job by SBC/Aladeen. There were no truly dull parts of the movie. Always funny, no dull parts, an unpredictable ending. The movie was a little too short though. Much better than Bruno, but worse than Borat. If you like a good comedy, see this movie. Full Review »