Sacha Baron Cohen stood astride the comedy world following the 2006 comedy Borat–dressed in a neon green bathing suit, of course.
The gonzo comedy catapulted the talented Brit to stardom. Today, after news broke that Cohen has pulled out of a planned Freddie Mercury biopic, his film career is anything but white hot.
Blame those “creative differences” for the actor leaving the biopic, a project that could have brought him serious Oscar consideration. Instead, Cohen emerges as a mercurial talent who can’t be counted on to carry a comedy project.
Cohen’s surprising career downturn began with 2009’s Bruno, a forced follow-up to Borat which lacked that film’s organic sense of chaos. Far worse was last year’s dud The Dictator, a more traditional comedy that delivered few laughs while stuffing lazy liberal talking points into the final act.
In between, Cohen delivered a perfunctory comic turn in Les Miserables and a more layered outing in Hugo.
His talent remains impressive, and one senses his willingness to push comic boundaries in a way lesser comedians couldn’t handle. He may need another Borat-sized hit to introduce himself anew to audiences in the “U.S. and A.”