Scott Marks 9 a.m., Dec. 18
Sacha Baron Cohen plays “Admiral-General” Aladeen, the brutal dictator of a fictional Middle Eastern country who finds himself stranded in Manhattan after a case of mistaken identity. From the outset, much of the humor relies on sequences of shtick that outlast their wit. Behind the guise of political satire, the movie attempts to gain immunity from its offensiveness. Most scenes reach beyond stupidity to the point of verbal assault, such as those involving rape and pedophilia. The audience members become subjects to a kind of comedic dictatorship: laugh or shut up. 2012.