New Year Extravaganza pt. 3: The Phallic Joke

Hello and welcome to Day 3 of the New Year Trailer Extravaganza!  If you missed day’s 1 and 2, be sure to check out my reviews of the trailers for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and Prometheus.  Today, I turn to a film that scares me – and not it the manner that Alien, Halloween, or My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic scare me.  More like the “This film could potentially insight tensions with foreign countries, an oil crisis, and maybe even a World War” kinda scare. Of course I am talking about the upcoming and controversial (at least in my mind) Sacha Baron Cohen flick:  The Dictator.

In trying to figure out what to say about this trailer, I first spent a lot of time trying to figure out how best to phrase the title of this post.  Very clearly one can see that Cohen’s fictious dictator is a bit of a….well, a jerk and I wanted to make a rather obvious joke here about what kind of character he is but, in the end, thought better of it.  Then I thought about all of the overplayed sexism against women which is VERY obvious in the trailer and thought it better justified the joke.  However, I hope this slightly more academic phrasing will be acceptable under the circumstances and I offer up THIS as an alternative punchline which you may prefer.

Now, moving on to the actual analysis of the trailer, let me say that I really like the style they chose for it.  It is perfectly reminiscent of the trailers for Cohen’s previous films and mixes in some of the modern comedy trailer pacing (see The Other Guys, Goon, and The Lorax).  Ultimately it builds well, shares only a few of the jokes, and makes me very interested in seeing exactly how far they are going to push the line.

The beginning is really brilliant.  I watched the trailer on Youtube before I saw Sherlock Holmes 2 and so I enjoyed watching my family’s reactions to the start of the trailer.  Honestly, this could be the start to Iron Man or some modern war film, yet it gives you just enough clues to expect the comedic twist at 0:30.  The editing of the live press coverage is brilliant and it plays beautifully into the punchline.

Music was perfectly chosen to accentuate the cultural humor about to take place as well as the larger-than-life character that Sacha Baron Cohen always provides.  I also like the title slides, cleverly blending a fictional nation’s flag into the necessary expository sequences.  They did a really good job of selling exactly what kind of film it is going to be while not being over-the-top for over-the-top.

At 0:45, we get our first glance at the now standard style of humor from Cohen.  Clearly the jokes degrading women will be back but what I am most worried about is the group of people this film challenges.  While I know that this film won’t cause World War 3, I am worried that Cohen and Co. might be pushing the line into territory that is unacceptable. Stereotyping another nation to reveal the racism and ignorance of America people is one thing; bastardizing a sexual orientation and using it to show the extremes of the debate over it is another.  But to poke fun at the life-styles of people who aren’t well known for taking jokes well?  Suffice to say, I am very curious to see what overseas box office sales will be for this clearly controversial film.

Finally, I definitely have to give major props to whoever wrote that scene before the title!  Not only do they make fun of the over-sexualization of Megan Fox post-Transformers, they get a shot in at Kim Kardashian which is always good in my book. 🙂  Also, great joke at the end with the race pistol.  I particularly love the look of astonishment on Cohen’s face when he (surprise!) wins the race!  So funny!

Honestly, I think this film is going to be really fun.  It is going to be uncomfortable in places, be racist and sexist throughout, but in the end I think it will do exactly what Cohen’s other films did: be a fun, ridiculous, roundabout way of revealing a few important truths.  Give it a try and I think you’ll enjoy, if nothing else, Sacha Baron Cohen’s antics. The trailer sells the film very well and I think it will be one of the best comedies of 2012.

Overall Rating:  5//5

Yup!  There you go.  What do you think of Sacha Baron Cohen’s latest attempt to tick off the world?  Do you think it is as potentially incendiary as I do or do you think that this is just another entry in the annals of awkward comedy? Please leave me your thoughts in the comments below – I’d love to see what you think.

Another one bites the dust and we are over halfway through the New Year Trailer Extravaganza!  Again if you haven’t already, check out my reviews of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and Prometheus here on Art of the Trailer. Tomorrow, at noon as always, come on back here for Part Four of the trailer review shmorgishborg!  I will be turning my attention to a film that I had no knowledge of until just a month ago – a film that seems to exude that modern writing style and….an extreme sense of irony.  To see what I mean, check back tomorrow for my review of the first trailer for Jack The Giant Killer.

Please Comment Below and Subscribe!

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About Tyler D. Welch

Filmmaker, Storyteller, Scholar View all posts by Tyler D. Welch

2 responses to “New Year Extravaganza pt. 3: The Phallic Joke

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