James Dempsey: The full-frontal dictator who gives us a laugh ... and more than an eyeful
TOWARDS the end of The Dictator, the latest film from Sacha Baron Cohen to unashamedly push the limits of good taste since Brüno’s bombshells and Borat’s hysteria, there comes a scene designed to shock: the despot General Aladeen is attempting to zip-line across a busy Manhattan thoroughfare when disaster strikes, clothing billows and a matronly hotel guest gets an eyeful at the revealing sight of Aladeen’s general and two colonials flying straight towards her face.
Ah yes, full frontal male nudity, that old chestnut in a nutcracker. It seems somewhat surprising that in 2012 a flash of penile flesh remains the ultimate taboo of mainstream cinema, still considered far more shocking than any burst of buxom undress or below-naval navigation of a female co-star’s body parts. In the 20 years since Sharon Stone scored a hit by uncrossing her legs in Basic Instinct, paparazzi pics of drunken Hollywood starlets’ revealing their genitalia have become the norm, to the point where comparisons of “Who wore it better?” of vajazzled regalia seem not too far away.
But when it comes to an actor baring all on screen, successfully towing the line between the artfully titillating and the gratuitously avoidable, as a moviegoing public, we still think it takes balls.