Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

Hmmm…. Before we get all into this comedy ‘Ratko: The Dictator’s Son’ lets talk for a minute on why it should’ve better than it was. First off it was directed by this cat named Savage Steve Holland. ‘Better Off Dead’. Enough said. Okay, maybe a little more should be said since ‘Better Off Dead’ is fast approaching its silver anniversary but still, it is ‘Better Off Dead’. This movie stars Efren Ramirez who is obviously most famous for playing Pedro in ‘Napoleon Dynamite’ but the kid has some real acting ability. I use the term ‘kid’ loosely for this 36 year old dude playing a college freshman, but he was good in this movie playing the character of Ratko almost pitch perfect. Continuing on Mr. Belding was in this movie. Mister. Freaking. Belding. I don’t know the dudes real name and I’m not going to the trouble to look it up because we all know Mr. Belding but we don’t who the hell Steve Jones or Bob Smith or whatever his real name is. Not only that, Mr. Belding was squeezing titties in this movie. Come on man! How many times do you think that Mr. Belding wished he could that to Tiffany Amber Thiessen? Now I did go through the trouble of looking up the names of those titties that Mr. Belding was squeezing, those belonging to some woman named Luscious Lopez. A quick look at Ms. Lopez’s filmography tells me the last movie she was in before this one was a classic called ‘Anal Beach Buns 2’. I tried to put that flick in my Netflix cue but apparently they don’t carry that title. What’s up with that? But yet with all of these solid elements the movie failed to be funny on any kind of consistent level. Why is this? Well, the reasons behind this are very simple. Before the movie came on it was preceded by the words ‘National Lampoon Presents’. And thus the fate of ‘Ratko: The dictator’s son’ was sealed.

After a reasonably well conceived opening montage sequence describing the history of the nation of Handjobia… just want to make sure you got that… we jump right into the story as Ratko begins his freshman year at this party school with his bodyguards in tow. One of these bodyguards would be Curtis ‘Booger’ Armstrong. Do you realize that my local Detroit homeboy over here is almost SIXTY? Damn. Anyway Ratko is an earnest young man who is in school simply to get a pharmaceutical degree to help his country and make his father proud in between saying inappropriate things at inappropriate times.

To cut to the chase Ratko meats a pretty campus activist named Holly (Katrina Bowden) who seems smitten with the ‘boy’ until she finds out that he is the son of brutal dictator, played by Adam West. Batman. Looking at that murals of this dictator it appears the filmmakers might’ve been planning on using Robert Goulet but alas Mr. Goulet left us a couple of years ago so when all else fails grab Adam West because Mr. West doesn’t give a damn. So where Ratko was once blissfully ignorant of his father’s crimes against humanity, he is now is committed to proving to Holly that he is primed to make a difference in the world. Mayhem and chaos will ensue. Hilarity was also planned to ensue but this did not happen at enough intervals for us, with a clear conscious, to label this movie a comedy.

Man, if somebody was giving out grades for effort then ‘Ratko: The Dictator’s Son’ would get a solid A+ from me. Hardly ten seconds passed throughout the entire runtime of this 80 or so minute movie when you weren’t being assaulted by some attempt at humor or some immense vulgarity or a stray titty floating in and out here and there. These guys did their absolute best to make us laugh, and we appreciate the effort but the laughter execution simply wasn’t there. Another good thing, if I may digress, is I don’t think I heard one stray fart in this movie. Kudos. But despite this solid effort and the much appreciated lack of lack of fartage, the joke simply didn’t connect. There really wasn’t enough story to carry the movie so frequently we were redirected to this luxury hotel where some kids displaced by Ratko taking over their dorm were staying, theory being that these wacky kids would provide even more hilarity than Ratko’s exploits were giving us, but this was the weakest part of the movie since these little sidetracks weren’t all that funny. These scenes were plenty vulgar and tasteless, that’s for sure, but vulgar and tasteless without funny is just vulgar and tasteless. That was profound right there, might want to write that down.

We’re not even going to go into the story behind this nonsense because it was truly negligible as the movie rested its laurels on the rapid fire attempts at humor, but Efren Ramirez was good as the lead character and he was responsible for most of the laughs that the movie had, Katrina Bowden has that rare Hollywood quality of being attractive, thin and blonde and Mr. Belding can be seen palming titties. While we seriously can’t recommend that you run out and pick this up but watching Mr. Belding purge fifteen years of ‘Saved by the Bell’ frustration was almost worth the price of admission. What’s next? Screech in a sex tape? Crazy man.

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