Liberals are supposed to love Sascha Baron Cohen’s new movie “The Dictator,” or what Washington Post film critic Ann Hornaday calls his “latest send-up of political manners and American exceptionalism.” His dictator describes himself as the last in a long line of now-fallen dictators: “Kim, Gaddafi, Saddam, Cheney.” Ha. Ha.
Hornaday found the film was so-so at best, but suggested to liberals “it will be worth the ride for Cohen fans just to hear choice Arabic renditions of ‘Everybody Hurts’ and ‘Let’s Get It On,’ and for a pointed third-act speech questioning a democracy ruled by its wealthiest 1 percent (hint: rhymes with 'Mamerica')." It sounds almost like Bill Moyers makes a cameo (or a "choice Arabic rendition" of Moyers). Hornaday also liked this exchange:
"The police here are so fascist!" Zoey cries after Aladeen is temporarily taken into custody. "Yeah, and not in a good way!" Aladeen retorts.
That's one of the few throwaway lines that are genuinely amusing in "The Dictator," which never achieves the stinging parodic heights of Cohen's "Borat" but manages a better batting average than his most recent misfire, "Bruno." [Brent Bozell's tour of that film's lowlights here.]
Just above that review in Tuesday’s Style section is a little piece on how Grover Norquist has a cameo in the second installment of Atlas Shrugged.” Grover didn't say any lines so they didn't have to get him to join the Screen Actors Guild. The Post gossips mocked the first movie:
First thought: Funny to think of the producers of “Atlas Shrugged” dealing with union problems.
Second thought: They’re really going ahead with this “Atlas Shrugged” movie? Part 1 of the long-planned trilogy, after all, was a notorious flop when released last year. But apparently on DVD it got enough fans grooving to its objectivist-capitalist-libertarian message to inspire producers to stay the course. With an entirely new cast and director, producers hope to have Part 2 out by election time this fall.
Okay, so the first film grossed $4.6 million in theaters when it cost an estimated $20 million to produce. But did anyone expect it to gross $20 million? I'd argue it would be "notorious" only if it was expected to be a box-office hit, like "Ishtar" or "Gigli." I suppose it's only notorious in that a capitalist film really must make a profit.