If even Martin Scorsese can’t convince people to watch Sacha Baron Cohen‘s The Dictator, I don’t know what can. But Paramount, of course, continues to try their hardest. Their latest effort is a red-band trailer that offers several fresh jokes, including bits on childbirth and 9/11.

It also finally, helpfully, offers an explanation of exactly how Admiral General Aladeen (Cohen) goes from being the all-powerful ruler of the Republic of Wadiya to being a grubby-looking cashier at a grocery store. Watch the trailer after the jump — and as usual, be warned that red-band means NSFW, in this case mostly for language.

It’s nice that this trailer actually offers new footage, rather than just recutting the scenes we’ve already seen, but the new gags don’t seem that much funnier than the old ones. Nothing we’ve seen of this movie so far has been offensively bad, but I wouldn’t say much of it has been very funny, either. Sadly, the early buzz isn’t doing much to disabuse us of that notion either.

Cohen obviously intends to poke fun both at the horrible real-life tyrants that make life a living hell for their citizens, and at American prejudices and fears about “A-rabs” (which include “those blue-skinned queers from A-vatar,” apparently). On paper, that sounds like sharp material perfectly suited for Cohen’s button-pushing brand of comedy. But all the jokes we’ve seen from The Dictator so far feel so expected. Even that last bit about tourists mistaking conversation about a Porsche 911 for talk about another 9/11 fell totally flat.

On a brighter note, I did laugh at the part where Aladeen kicks over the little boy, because I never tire of watching people be mean to kids in comedies. So who knows? Maybe there’s some hope yet, if the movie has more kids to be toppled over.

Directed by Larry Charles and also starring Anna Faris and Ben Kingsley, The Dictator opens next Wednesday, May 16.

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