Booyaksha! Sacha Baron Cohen's outrageous creation is here in all his gangsta glory, making the precarious leap from small to big screen. Fans of Ali G will laugh their heads off as they discover more about his home turf, Eastside-Westside ghetto wars and how he met 'me Julie' at a disco during his goth days. However those who didn't really find it that funny in the first place will be left bemused, looking for the exit.
There was a danger of overkill and excessive marketing but fortunately these fears were unfounded, mostly because Ali G In Da House works as a film, rather that a collection of sketches stuck together. The plot is as daft as Ali himself and starts off with the disastrous news that the John Nike leisure centre is to be shut down, and as Ali comments; it's as important to the community as Mecca is to the Jews. Gaining the recognition of local MP's by staging a 30 second hunger strike, Ali is elected the candidate to secure the Staines seat.
Inevitably the way that Ali G made his reputation, by being quick and clever with his sending up of well-known figures, is obviously lost because it is a scripted film. It is hard to see how a follow up would be possible because Ali's background is explained, and this is surely one of the factors that anybody wanting to see it would go for. The other attraction being hilarious insults, sexist remarks and knob jokes. A film full of this might sound a bit too much for even the most avid fan, but the jokes are so constant the bad ones have gone as soon as another comical scenario comes along.
Michael Gambon and Charles Dance bring a lot to the film and deserve credit for being good sports taking the brunt of some of the crudest jokes. A funny moment is when Ali asks to see the red button and then tries to persuade the PM to blow something up, 'like Wales, I heard the Prime Minister there said that your Mums a slapper' to which the PM informs a confused Ali, 'I am the Prime Minister of Wales'.
Ali G in da House (2002) has been released at the right time and the jokes are still funny, whether they will still be as funny for much longer is down to the comic genius of Sacha Baron Cohen. It's a film well worth watching for taking a satirical look at society and providing juvenile humour in abundance - if that's what you're into.
With thanks to the Warner Village Cinema at
Clifton Moor Centre, York.