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Jewish Journal

‘The Dictator’: Top Jewish moments

by Naomi Pfefferman

May 11, 2012 | 8:18 am

The Dictator (2012)

However the reviews may fall for “The Dictator,” Sacha Baron Cohen’s first scripted film, the comedy certainly offers some bits for The Tribe – – mostly skewing anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist sentiments—and with plenty of Hebrew and Yiddish words peppered into his dictator-speak [SPOILER ALERT]:

- Admiral Gen. Haffaz Aladeen of the North African country of Wadiya (who, by the way, is not an Arab) has been summoned to New York to address the United Nations on concerns he’s developing nuclear weapons on the sly. He struggles not to giggle as he insists his weapons-grade uranium will be used only for medical research and clean energy – “and certainly never to attack Is—“  he says, catching himself before naming the Jewish state.

- Just before deciding to journey to New York after all (his umpteenth double has been assassinated), The Dictator relaxes by playing a Wii game in which a mellifluous female voice announces, “Welcome to the Munich Olympics.”  With his “Jewdar” on, the Supreme Leader blasts away at bearded avatars that shout “shalom,” “oy vey” and “meshuggeneh” as they implode.

- After Aladeen is kidnapped, stripped of his Matisyahu-like beard and left helpless on the streets of New York, a shlemiely dictator look-alike steps in for Aladeen at the United Nations. The imposter, a former goatherd, proceeds to pee in a pitcher, drink it – and then accidentally spills it all over the Israeli delegation, which is apparently doubling for Ryan Seacrest. “Good one,” says the impressed real Aladeen, who is watching the antics on TV. 

- Alone and desperate in Brooklyn, The Dictator is about to jump off a bridge when he is rescued by his former top scientist, Nuclear Nadal (Jason Mantzoukas), who is startled when Aladeen calls him a “schmuck.”  “Why are you speaking Yiddish?” Nadal asks, as the despot explains that he picked it up in New York.  “I don’t like the people,” Aladeen says of Jews, “but I like the way their words sound like what they mean.”  Scoffs Nadal, “I’m sorry, but did I get the evite to your bar mitzvah?”

- Finally re-ensconced as Dictator, Aladeen weds Zoe (Anna Faris), a grocer he has befriended in New York, in a lavish ceremony.  There’s just one problem – at the conclusion of the ceremony Zoe breaks a glass, explaining that it’s a tradition among her people.  ‘I’m Jewish – mazel tov,” she declares, as Aladeen hugs her close – and beckons to his executioner.

“The Dictator” opens on May 16.

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Naomi Pfefferman Magid is the arts & entertainment editor of the Jewish Journal, where she’s spent the last quarter century interviewing everyone from Seth Rogen, Natalie...

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