Alan Dee’s movie preview: The Dictator, Two Days In New York

SO here’s the thing – the man who brought us Borat and Bruno is now presenting us with a beard, and we’re all supposed to split our sides.

I’ve never got Sacha Baron Cohen and I don’t mind who knows it. Ali G was a one-joke pony that depended on people being too polite to point out that the twerp in the yellow track suit was a self-deluding divot, and Borat mined the same seam on the other side of the Atlantic, abusing the hospitality of his hosts and operating an equal opportunities offensiveness policy which would have been easier to take if the end result had been a comedy success, It wasn’t.

Bruno was just dull, and now we are expected to get excited because – at a time when people in various parts of the world are putting their lives on the line to rid themselves of despots – he’s giving us a cartoon compilation that rolls up all the allegedly amusing things about the likes of Saddam Hussein, Colonel Gaddafi, Idi Amin and any other mass murdering monster you care to name, and sneering that if we don’t find it hilarious we just haven’t got a sense of humour.

In The Dictator a very large beard with Mr Baron Cohen attached plays the boss man of a backward country determined to keep democracy at bay, and taking liberties on a state visit to the USA. Here’s a sample of the humour level – he claims that they have a simple solution to phone hacking in his country, anyone with a mobile phone has their hands hacked off. Oh, please, stop. No, I mean it.

The people who are hoping to make money out of this mishmash will trell you that this is another crazy character from a brilliant comedy mind.

Anyone else will probably agree that it’s crass, clumsy, and most of all isn’t that funny. Charlie Chaplin’s The Great Dictator didn’t have many laughs in it either, but at least he was trying to make a serious point.

> Much classier comedy all round is on offer in Two Days In New York, in which metro New York couple Julie Delpy and Chris Rock – she a French photographer, he a radio talk show host – find their nicely-ordered life gets given a size nine in the nads when her family turns up from the other side of the Atlantic.

Delpy is the driving force as writer, director and star in a culture clash comedy which follows on from her acclaimed Two Days In Paris, and Rock tones it down to impressive effect in the straight man role as the boyfriend horrified by the God-awful Gallic gang.

> Also slated for general release this week is The Raid, which has been earning impressive word of mouth buzz.

It’s written and directed by Welshman Gareth Evans but it’s set in the Indonesian capital Jakarta, and combines martial arts and Hollywood action genres to eye-popping effect.

There’s an evil drugs baron holed up in a tower block, cops have to go in and get him and tackle his army of machete-wielding maniacs. Game on.

Film festival audiences around the world have been raving so much that it’s been picked up by the big boys, so you can see what all the fuss is about.

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