Sacha Baron Cohen is the king of bizarre, vulgar and shameless comedy.
He loves to roast every aspect of human decency on a skewer of nasty sarcasm. He used his incendiary formula as the audacious "Borat" and won the Golden Globe for Best Comedy in 2007.
His latest affront to polite society is "The Dictator."It's a satire of the insane life of a Khadafi style despot from North Africa. Rest assured it's rude, crude and deliberately offensive to all levels of awareness. But Cohen adds a silly subplot of scripted romantic comedy to his normally crass observations of life.
Anna Faris plays the misty-eyed girl who implausibly falls in love with the undercover tyrant. But the combination of outrageous R-rated humor with budding romance seems ridiculous. It takes the edge off the core of the movie's brash focus.
About every 10 minutes, something happens to create embarrassing but side-splitting laughter. But the lame periods in between the big laughs take all the air out of Cohen's balloon.