Ali G Indahouse (2002) – movie review

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Movie Review by Kris Griffiths

Starring: Sacha Baron Cohen, Martin Freeman, Kellie Bright, Michael Gambon
Director: Mark Mylod

Following in the footsteps of Britain’s Kevin & Perry and Mr Bean, and the earlier feats of America’s Wayne & Garth and Beavis & Butthead, Ali G is the latest TV comedy character to make the risky jump onto the big screen. A classic fish-out-of-water silly story, ALI G INDAHOUSE is sure to outstrip the box office success of his comic compatriots and gain nuff respeck on both sides of the Atlantic.

In his spare time, Ali runs an alternative boy scout club at the Nike Leisure Centre on his Westside turf, but when told of its imminent closure through lack of funding, Ali’s only concern is “how is dese kids gonna make it outta de ghetto now?” On a mission to save the centre he chains himself to a bus stop on Staines High Street, attracting the attention of the Deputy Prime Minister (Charles Dance) who needs to find a ‘voice of youth’ to win him the Staines by-election. After persuading the dumbstruck Ali to run for government it turns out that his ulterior motive is to use Ali to make a mockery of the PM (Michael Gambon) and his party thus becoming the Premier himself.

However, the scheme inevitably backfires when Ali rejuvenates the party and captivates the nation with his alternative policies on drugs (all rolling papers become free of charge), education (maths taught using ounces, eighths and quarters) and asylum seekers (only fit female refugees are allowed entry). Ali’s eventual demise arrives at a tense World Summit meeting where he spikes everyone’s tea with his own special herbs, saving the day but ruining his political career as well as the PM’s. Faced with losing his beloved Nike Centre, Me Julie and his alienated West Side Massive, Ali also discovers that the evil new PM has planned to demolish the whole of Staines. A crazy but clever plan is hatched to save the day once again.

There really isn’t much one can say in a critique of this film except that if you’re an Ali G fan then this is probably the funniest film you’ll ever see; if you’re not, then steer well clear. I say this because at certain points in the film all taste and originality go down the toilet in a big way. There is a wafer-thin tightrope which the writers choose to edge across, whether it’s the opening scene where Ali dreams he is receiving a blow-dry from two sexy models only to wake up with his dog Tupac lapping away beneath the duvet, or the Queen-meeting scene which has him accidentally pulling down her skirt and knickers and commenting on the appearance of her royal you-know-what.

But on the flip side are hilarious scenes such as Ali’s debut appearance in the House of Commons, or the drugged World Summit where the main issue moves from the declaration of war to the question of who is going down the shops to pick up some munchies. ALI G INDAHOUSE is ultimately a crass, crude but clever comedy caper that will have viewers shouting either “rubbish” or “respeck” in response. I tentatively say “respeck” to the filmmakers, but just go easy on the cringe scenes for the sequel.

4 out of 6 stars