THE "RUNNING OF THE JEW" scene in Borat is 100 times funnier than anything in The Dictator. That scene was lurid, politically incorrect, and above all, specific. Making fun of a Muslim strongman, though, as The Dictator does, isn't even politically incorrect—in fact, it's probably the most politically correct. The Dictator just couches all its jokes in vulgarity to make it seem politically incorrect. It's like shitty fake punk, where you scratch the strings and grimace even though the song's about holding hands at a Dairy Queen. Throwing money at cockroaches because the Jews are shapeshifters is creative, and, again, specific. The opposite of that? Saying you want to get home so you can watch The Real Housewives of Ahmadinehulalabajad. I love poop/fart/vagina humor, but less so when it's just a crutch to prop up lazy pop culture references. HAHA, LINDSAY LOHAN!
Patton Oswalt has a bit about going to open mics when he was a younger comedian, saying there were essentially three types of comedians: people who had a voice and potential, people who were funny-but-who-cares, and lunatics. Sacha Baron Cohen always used to seem like an intriguing 50/50 combo of the first and third types, so it's disappointing to see him in the ultimate "funny, but who cares" movie. He even reuses some of his jokes, like the one about how a woman in politics is like a monkey flying a plane. (Here it's a woman in education is like a monkey on roller skates).
While it's not totally unfunny (probably two out of every five jokes works), The Dictator is just the broadest of broad comedy. Its one saving grace is that it spends the first bit so drastically lowering your expectations that by the end, you can just chuckle along with the okay jokes. (I did enjoy the shot from inside Kathryn Hahn's vagina.)
I rate it three mehs fully shrugged.