Ali G Inda House
Love him or loath him, Ali G has finally got his big film break. Sacha Baron Cohen’s alter-ego the hip-hopping gangsta wannabe Ali G seems to be everywhere, from hosting award ceremonies to appearing in ageing popsters music videos.
His debut, penned by Cohen himself and Dan Mazer, is a full-on barrage of knob gags (I love knob gags, but the wife refuses to wear them – Bash-the-monkey) and smutty schoolboy humour which gives surprisingly good result. Some will find it offensive and total rubbish while others will laugh in the aisle till their sides hurt. That’s it really – horses for courses.
After a hilarious opening sequence involving a gunfight on the violent streets of LA, Ali G Indahouse takes us to Staines where we get to see Ali G on his own turf. He’s the self styled leader of the ‘Staines Massive’ (pronounced Massif), a urban ghetto gang of lads whose lives revolve around hip-hop and driving around in cars with sound systems that take up the rear seats completely. Ali G discovers his beloved spiritual home; the John Nike Leisure Centre (“It’s like wot Mecca is to the Jews” says Ali) is under threat of closure. So in protest, Ali chains himself to the railing in Staines town centre and begins a hunger strike (which ends before it begins really). As luck would have it the Deputy Prime Minster and Chancellor (Charles Dance in a surprisingly low brow role for him) happens to be looking out of the office window and sees the chained up Ali (being tossed off by a blind man - see the film, I can’t explain it right now!) and before you can say “Aiii!” has convinced Ali to stand for a by-election in Staines.
The Chancellors motives are not as pure as it first seems, for he wants the Prime Minster (Michael Gambon) to be ousted from power and sees the inept Ali being the tool (in more ways than one) to do it with. Inadvertently, Ali does the complete opposite, instead of humiliating the PM and his cabinet, increases the popularity of the government with his unorthodox laws and methods, much to the Chancellors disgust. With Ali now the PM’s new best friend, the Chancellor resorts to using his beautiful secretary (Ex-Tomb Raider poster girl Rhona Mitra) to cause friction between Ali and his girlfriend Julie (finally we meet the infamous ‘ Me Julie’).
Finally Ali slips up and the Chancellor manages to get the PM disgraced out of office. Can he win Julie back? And can he clear his name and the PMs? But most importantly can he find his self worth after becoming a sell-out in the eyes of the Stains Massive?
The film is packed with the trademark satire and toilet humour that Ali is famous for. Cohen’s persona is a real slap in the face for the white middle class kids who believe that listening to rap music and wearing the clothes makes you ‘from the ghetto’. It deservedly kicks the ‘keeping it real’ middle classes in the nut sack. Also in the film are unsubtle drug references, sexual humour and toilet jokes galore. The ending is weaker than the main body of the film and seems rushed.
The performances are surprisingly good from almost everyone, but the material used is hardly taxing. The fictional MPs (more Conservative than New Labour surprisingly – only a few years behind the times!) are very comical characters, rather than the real public figures that Sacha Baron Cohen baited and humiliated so skilfully on TV. There are cameos from Naomi Campbell, Richard and Judy (sadly still trying to be cool and trying to show they are hip) and John Humphries.
Cohen is undeniably a clever guy, but many people have difficulty in seeing the difference between actually being stupid and having the skill at appearing to be stupid. Ali G Indahouse will probably not win many new fans but the huge Ali G fan base will most likely be entertained greatly. Its not rocket science, but it is funny.
Finally, just as a point of interest, the John Nike Leisure Centre really does exist and allowed the film makers to use their name in a trade allowing them to use the tag ‘the spiritual home of Ali G’ on their company literature – which is nice.
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Oh, by the way check out the banned UK poster for Ali G Indahouse.