Actress Jessica Alba was among the guests at designer Narciso Rodriguez's wedding in New York on Saturday (22Jun13). The fashion guru exchanged vows with partner Thomas Tolan at the Gramercy Park Hotel.
There's probably still someone somewhere that would fall for one of Sacha Baron Cohen's weird and wooly scenarios but let's face the facts: the days when Ali G. could snag an interview with Pat Buchanan or Gore Vidal are long gone. 2009's Bruno definitely let some steam out of Borat's tires not to mention the ensuing lawsuits. But it's refreshing to see Cohen and his Borat/Bruno cohort director Larry Charles flex their muscles in the fictional universe of The Dictator a vehicle that doesn't skimp on their signature cringe-worthy humor.
The world of The Dictator gives them the leeway to create crazy spectacles — at one point Cohen's General Aladeen rides down Fifth Avenue on a camel surrounded by a giant motorcade. Having a plot helps too; although part of the genius of Sacha Baron Cohen's schtick is how the viewer is made culpable by proxy by our amusement and horror at how he tricks and torments people who aren't in on the joke The Dictator continues the self-reflexive satirical bite. We're certainly not off the hook. Aladeen says and does truly outrageous things but they're also exaggerations of the world we live in. It might be a stretch to call Sacha Baron Cohen the British Lenny Bruce or George Carlin in a face merkin but rest assured that no topic is off limits. If you are offended by jokes about abortion rape feminists body hair race religion politics STDs war crimes ethnic cleansing necrophilia and/or bestiality don't even bother. However if you like the kind of comedy that makes you hide your face in your hands feeling like each laugh is being pried from you against your will you're in business.
Cohen eats up the screen as both General Aladeen and his incredibly dumb body double; the latter prefers the intimate company of one of his goats to a human while the former is a fairly stupid ruthless dictator whose own people are so disloyal to him that they actually ignore his commands to execute people. (He really likes to execute people.) When he arrives in New York City to attend a summit at the UN his uncle Tamir (Ben Kingsley) has the two switched so he can easily manipulate the "General" into signing a treaty to make Wadiya a democracy and reap the financial benefits. Aladeen finds refuge with Zoe a hairy-pitted activist who thinks he's a political dissident and is excited to be able to give him a safe haven in her touchy-feely Brooklyn grocery co-op. Instead of being typecast as another blonde dummy Anna Faris is finally given room to play as the wide-eyed naïf who takes Aladeen's very serious statements as jokes or simple miscommunications. She's a great foil to Baron Cohen who is easily half a foot taller than she is and has a wolfish grin. Their banter is often the most politically incorrect of the bunch but also the funniest.
Alas the plot. It's a bare bones situation to get a very broad character from A to B. Aladeen is obviously an outlandish mishmash of modern dictators; he spouts racist misogynist rhetoric endlessly and after a while...yeah we get it. However like all of Sacha Baron Cohen's humor The Dictator also takes a direct shot at Western countries (specifically the United States) which would be all fine and dandy if he didn't wedge an expository speech in about it as well. The problem with making a traditional narrative movie is that with some exceptions you've got to play within the guidelines. The Dictator isn't trying to do anything fancy; all it needs a few big beats and a neat ending to wrap it all up. It doesn't quite manage to tie it all together in a way that makes The Dictator more than an hour and a half or so of laughing and cringing.
Besides Faris and Kingsley there are a number of cameos by a very wide variety of comics and actors. Megan Fox plays herself Kevin Corrigan appears as a creepy dude who works at the co-op John C. Reilly is a racist security guard and Fred Armisen runs an anti-Aladeen café in New York's Little Wadiya district. The very funny Jason Mantzoukas has a large role as Nadal the former head of rocket science who was supposedly executed for not making Aladeen's nuclear warhead pointy. It's a good ensemble and hopefully Sacha Baron Cohen's next feature-length film will build on The Dictator's weaknesses.
The actor was stunned to read about the trailer Kutcher has landed himself on the set of comedy show Two and a Half Men - and he insists he deserves a similar palace on wheels as he starts work on a new TV project.
He tells The Hollywood Reporter, "On (TV shows) Rescue Me and The Job, my trailer became the writers' trailer... Six guys in one regular-sized trailer.
"When we go into production on the half-hour (show), I'm getting that Ashton Kutcher trailer and it's going to be (co-writer) Peter (Tolan) and me each with our own floors."
Leary and co-creator Peter Tolan will present objects from the acclaimed TV series to the National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C. on Thursday (14Jul11). The objects will join the museum's popular culture history collections, which is full of notable items from television history.
And Leary, though thrilled by the honour, fears the Smithsonian officials have the wrong guy.
He says, "I don't know how it happened... I think they actually think it's (Willem) Dafoe - they think Dafoe plays the guy. So, when I get there on Thursday, and they get a good look, they're gonna go, 'Wait a minute, we thought you were the Platoon guy!'
"It's (character) Tommy Gavin's helmet and bunker jacket that's going in."
Production on Tierney's latest TV show, Parenthood, was halted in July (09) to allow her to undergo a "medical evaluation" after she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She subsequently ruled out a return to Parenthood and left TV bosses to re-cast the role.
But now producers at Tierney's previous TV show, firefighter drama Rescue Me, have revealed they plan to bring the actress back for a role in the upcoming seventh season, which is due to start shooting in 2010.
Executive producer Peter Tolan tells People.com, "We are just about finished writing the entire sixth season, which is about 10 episodes, and then there are nine more, so we know we're going to bring back Maura Tierney, because we loved her and she loved us, which is even more fulfilling. She can take care of herself and come back then."
Tierney's spokesperson adds, "(She) would love to come back to Rescue Me if possible."
The actress appeared in season five of the U.S. drama opposite Denis Leary.
In the zillionth riff on the Faust legend lonely techno nerd Elliot (Fraser) is so in love with a co-worker (Australia's Frances O'Connor) that he trades his immortal soul to a vampy female manifestation of Satan (Elizabeth Hurley) in exchange for seven wishes. But wishing he led various other lives (as an NBA superstar a brilliant author) has a way of backfiring at the worst possible moments. Will Elliot get it right before he runs out of wishes - and before the filmmakers run out ways to twist the concept?
Fraser steps up to the demands of playing several distinct variations of his character but he doesn't have it in him to knock the picture out of the park the way a first-rate comic on the order of Jim Carrey or Steve Martin might have. Ditto for Hurley ("Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery") who oozes screen presence but whose comedic skills don't seem to extend beyond using the fantasy combo of her supermodel looks and British sophistication as an ongoing gag.
Former Ghostbuster Harold Ramis who with "Groundhog Day " "Multiplicity" and "Analyze This" has been quietly proving himself the most reliable director of mainstream comedies in Hollywood takes the piece as far as the limitations of his lead actors will allow it to go. The script (by "Tootsie's" Larry Gelbart Ramis and "What Planet Are You From?'s" Peter Tolan) isn't nearly as inspired as "Groundhog Day " which it resembles in both structure and theme but Ramis manages to keep things popping with expert pacing and a devilish sense of fun.