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British Food

 AliG In Da House   

It's well accepted that for a few months in the early part of the 00's, Ali G was the funniest character on British TV. Sacha Baron Cohen's creation of a helplessly self-obsessed 'wigger', masquerading as a clueless youth TV interviewer, provided almost unlimited opportunities for his subjects to unwittingly expose their own shortcomings, by desperately trying to use his perceived appeal as a springboard to make themselves more acceptable to the youth audience. In each and every case they failed - hilariously.

But now the joke's over. Like Dennis Pennis before him, his notoriety spread far and wide and celebrities aren't likely to set themselves up to be ridiculed anymore. Or are they? Especially now as they're in on the joke.... Maybe now, Ali CAN finally help them appeal to the youth of today......?
 For sure, the celebrities who appear in 'Ali G In Da House' seem to be having the time of their lives. From 'blink and you miss them cameos' (such as Richard and Judy!) to full blown leading roles (Charles Dance, Michael Gambon), the great and good of the British entertainment industry seem only too pleased to be associated with Ali G. And with a good reason too because, beyond the expectations of all but the most committed members of the West Staines Massive, Cohen has managed to make a pretty damn funny film.

It's best not to get too tied down with the plot elements -  Gambon is the under-fire PM, desperate for opinion poll points, Dance is the deputy PM, who suggests recruiting Ali, ostensibly to attract the youth vote, whilst hoping for him to fail, so he can take over at Number 10. Predictably, Ali doesn't fail and the PM gets his required popularity boost so Dance then tries more underhand tactics to get his required results.

And predictability is probably the films strongest asset. Upon visiting a building site, when asked to 'lay a brick in front of the cameras', there isn't a single person in the audience who doesn't know what Ali is about to do, but it doesn't matter. Neither do the childlike double entendres that are liberally littered throughout the script, lending it an air of a twenty first century 'Carry On' film.
Cohen is obviously a very talented comedy writer and performer and his (co-written) script actually does move the Ali G character on further from his TV roots but you are left wondering where else is there for him to go? It does say something that some of the funniest moments in the film occur when the action freezes and Ali slides in, in another frame to address the audience with regards to the scene we are currently watching, before sliding out again and the action continuing. These moments do reinforce the fact that Ali works better as a commentator than a character. We can only hope Cohen realises this too before we are subjected to 'Ali G Back In D House Part 5'....
But to criticise too much seems churlish. The film makers here set their sights admirably low and hit each target with ease.

Sean G

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