Ali G InDaHouse Review

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Stirring up a political scandal, the Deputy Prime Minister gets Ali G elected as MP for Staines. But while the "Keep It Real" doctrine proves popular, Ali is more concerned about saving the local community centre and boning some Grade-A booty.


Kevin and Perry did it - why shouldn't it work for the self-appointed style guru of the Westside Staines Massive? Sacha Baron Cohen's comic creation makes the jump from "yoof" TV send-up to big screen star with typically mixed results. When it's good, it's tears-in-the-eyes funny; but when it has to develop the story, some weak spots begin to appear.

Although the plot allows for some political satire, the general tone aims low. Smutty, crude and knob-obsessed, Ali G is a day-glo cartoon who might well have bounced from the pages of Viz. When he first stepped into the media spotlight, the joke was on those who, unsuspecting, took him seriously as pop culture interviewer. Now that the mask has been removed, the joke is on him. He's the by-word for every pasty-faced kid with street-cred aspirations, and the film thrives on the juxtaposition of his gangsta fantasies with the suburban reality of crap cars and turf wars over playground climbing frames. By lifting Ali G from the Staines 'hood and plonking him down in Westminster, the film finds a fish-out-of-water scenario that has fun with both sides of the equation.

His "Keep It Real" manifesto carries about as much weight as Reagan's "Just Say No" campaign, but surrounding him are politicians grasping at anything that will boost their standing in the polls - even if that means an immigration policy that only allows "fit" refugees to enter the country. Because the film fills in missing elements of the Ali G myth (he's Alistair Leslie Graham and he met "me Julie" in his Goth days at a local disco), the character might now have nowhere left to go. But that doesn't matter because Ali G Indahouse strikes while the iron is hot and the jokes are still funny.

Relentlessly juvenile, it will offend moralists while making fans laugh out loud. It's only when demands of storytelling intrude that the film can't keep it up (snigger, snigger).