1 item from 2002
Cult British television character Ali G makes the move to the big screen in "Ali G Indahouse", a raw comedy that is intermittently hilarious as it attacks pretty much every taboo around. While modest in its cinematic ambitions, it was shrewdly released in the United Kingdom to tie in with the Easter break. With a 15-certificate, the comedy likely will be a hit with young, eager audiences. Whether it can break out overseas remains dubious, but if a distributor is willing to take a chance with Ali G and the controversy that surrounds him, it could have a minor hit.
Ali G was created for television by comedian Sacha Baron Cohen. This wildly dressed, would-be gangsta rapper engaged in hilarious "interviews" with sober establishment figures, who didn't realize they were having fun poked at them. The character now has a television show, mixing rap music, comedy and satire with controversy usually close by, mainly because of Ali G's liberal swearing.
Ali G and his posse of equally sad "gangstas" live in the staid, run-down London suburb of Staines, though the start of the film sees Ali G dreaming of driving an open-top pimp mobile through the mean streets of East L.A. He wakes to the realization that he is still in Staines, living with his grandmother and that the big drama in his life is that the local John Nike Leisure Center is set to close down.
He decides to protest the closing but is unwittingly drawn into a plot by the government's deputy prime minister (a game Charles Dance), who is looking to oust the prime minister (Michael Gambon). Ali G is recruited to stand in the Staines by-election with Carlton, the deputy prime minister, figuring he will prove such an embarrassment that it will reflect badly on the prime minister. The plot misfires when Ali G somehow gets elected to the Houses of Parliament -- 'Indahouse' ... get it?
What gives the film its appeal is the wonderful character of Ali G. Even before the film proper begins, he is onscreen next to the film classification certificate claiming that it should be an 18-certificate because it is so crude and rude. Ali G's comedy embraces racism, sexism, ageism and pretty much every "ism" one could think of, but his tough Staines gangstas are sweet boys at heart (even during their car race through the town they always stay at the speed limit).
Cohen is extremely fine as Ali G, all full of innocent bravado and well-meaning insensitivity. Praise also should go to those fine actors Gambon and Dance for having the sense of humor to take part in the film.
Director Mark Mylod struggles at times to make the slight story fit into a longer running time. The rap music soundtrack sits easily with the nature of the film, and Ali G has teamed with music star Shaggy for the track "Mejulie", which has been released to tie in with the film.
ALI G INDAHOUSE
Working Title Films, Universal Pictures and Studio Canal
A WT2 production in association with Talkback Prods
Producers: Eric Fellner, Tim Bevan, Dan Mazer
Director: Mark Mylod
Screenwriters: Sacha Baron Cohen, Dan Mazer
Cinematographer: Ashley Rowe
Art directors: David Walley, Sarah Kane, Sandy Garfield
Editor: Paul Knight
Music: Adam F.
Costume designers: Annie Hardinge, Jason Alper
Ali G: Sacha Baron Cohen
Me Julie: Kellie Bright
Prime minister: Michael Gambon
Carlton: Charles Dance
Kate: Rhona Mitra
Ricky C: Martin Freeman
Nan: Barbara New
Hassan B: Ray Panthaki
No MPAA rating
Running time -- 88 minutes
1 item from 2002
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