CAPSULE: This is a fluff film, a wish-fulfillment fantasy without much structure, and that is of often-questionable humor. Justin Routt writes, directs, and stars in a film that amounts to little more than a laundry list of pet peeves. Humor is a matter taste and this humor mostly is not to my taste. The story really amounts to just being an exercise in groovy fascism. One ordinary guy gets the chance to be the ruler of the world and fine-tunes it to eliminate his lowbrow pet complaints. Rating: high -1 (-4 to +4) or 3/10
IF I WERE DICTATOR is reminiscent of the old H. G. Wells classic THE MAN WHO COULD WORK MIRACLES. However, it is not nearly so polished. The soon-to-be-dictator (played by Justin Routt) is unemployed and living life in the slow lane. He is leading a pointless existence thinking about everything he does not like about the world. Then he realizes he can take what he has around the house and invent a device that makes him the ruler of the world. Suddenly he is dressing like Benito Mussolini--whom he somewhat resembles anyway--and making rules for the world to follow. (One would think the most powerful man in the world would have a slightly nicer board room.)
At this point the film could almost be a newspaper essay. An imaginative set of peeves could have made at least an amusing film. Unfortunately, the dictator's complaints are on the level that he does not like lawyers or dentists. He will say something like it is illegal to put chewing gum on the underside of a table. Then we see someone doing it and the police coming along and arresting her. A large proportion of the complaints have something to do with toilets or flatulence and the dramatization makes full use of rude noises.
That brings me to the invention that gives the dictator power over the world. This was another opportunity for Routt to have come up with an imaginative invention that would give political power. Barring a good answer to the question of what is the invention, at least it could have been left a mystery. Routt does leave it a mystery at least temporarily. Eventually we do find out what the powerful invention is, and it makes no logical sense.
I would say that Routt could not sustain the humor for the length of the film, but at least for me he really has only one or two gags that do not seem tired. Other people may like more. The film could have benefited being shorter, but it is extended long enough to really outstay its welcome. It would be one thing if Routt was making good use of this time, but it is padded showing fascinating sequences like the will-be-dictator making eggs or trimming his nose hair or cleaning a toilet. I do not have to pay to see these things in a theater. Routt needs to constantly ask if the reader is better off for having seen each scene he includes.
Best touch: The cutest character of this film is the pre-dictator's pet pig. This is Justin Routt's first film, but unless he gets just the right audience he will not go far making films like this. I rate IF I WERE DICTATOR a high -1 on the -4 to +4 scale or 3/10.
Film Credits: http://us.imdb.com/title/tt1322926/
Mark R. Leeper firstname.lastname@example.org Copyright 2008 Mark R. Leeper