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Sacha Baron Cohen has been working hard to sell his latest outlandish satire, The Dictator, and with the film opening tomorrow we'll soon see how his PR stunts have paid off. Personally, I thought Cohen had overexposed his badly behaved Admiral General Aladeen by the time he'd dumped the reputed ashes of Kim Jong-il on Ryan Seacrest at the Oscars' red carpet. Then, I groaned at The Dictator's follow-up promos because many of the jokes they showcased seemed obvious or limp. However, when I saw the comedy last week I was pleasantly surprised by how fresh and funny much of it was. It turns out the marketing is the worst aspect of this feature.
So, if you too are on the fence about The Dictator, I offer this extended clip which features the eponymous anti-hero trying to blend in as an American with the help of his contemptuous countryman Nadal, who is played by the hysterical Jason Mantzoukas. Here you'll see the irreverent brand of humor that Cohen is known for on full and shocking display, but moreover you'll see Mantzoukas—who provides one of the film's funniest performances—in full effect:
You might recognize Mantzoukas as the unrelentingly vile El Cuñado Rafi on The League, or as the obnoxious Pawnee perfume magnate Dennis Feinstein on Parks and Recreation or as one of the hosts of the hilarious movie review podcast How Did This Get Made? With a background in improvisational comedy hard earned at New York City's Upright Citizens Brigade Theater, Mantzoukas has a ballsy and spontaneous comedy style that brings a new dynamic to Cohen's self-righteous idiot schtick. As you can see here, Nadal calls Aladeen out on his nonsense, and the slapstick slapdown is hysterical. Their push-and-pull relationship is one of The Dictator's strongest elements, and so is sure to launch the scene-stealing Mantzoukas regardless of how this feature fares.
The Dictator opens tomorrow nationwide.