ALI G INDAHOUSE

Director:  Mark Mylod 

Starring:  Sacha Baron Cohen, Michael Gambon, Charles Dance

The head of the West Staines Massive enters politics to save the local leisure centre.

From the far end of 2002 it seems like Ali G is about a year past his sell-by date. Even those people who hadn't already been put off by the character's unashamedly homophobic and sexist brand of humour must feel like he's beginning to outstay his welcome.

Ali G was at his best exposing the pomposity of politicians and self-proclaimed experts, but since then the character has devolved somewhat, and his horizons have broadened significantly, to the point where he's able to carry a feature-film. It's hard to see where the character might go now, and it wouldn't be at all surprising if Ali was retired, and Baron Cohen went in search of new challenges. The film demonstrates disappointing few sparks of Baron Cohen's genius, instead it relies on a blend of mildly amusing knob gags and meek misogyny. 

The film's best laughs come from seeing distinguished character actors Michael Gambon and Charles Dance struggling to cope with Ali and his ideas for popularising their government. Both gamely tackle each indignity that the script throws at them. There are a few other nice cameo appearances, including Richard Madeley, who makes up for his hugely embarrassing Ali G impersonation with a funny one-liner, and Naomi Campbell (who doubles her screen time in one of the deleted scenes on the disc).

The film is presented very slightly windowboxed, at 1.85:1 ratio, with anamorphic enhancement. The cinematography isn't particularly bold or inventive, but every scene is well-lit, and nicely transferred to disc. There's some noticeable edge-enhancement, and the contrast range isn't always solid, but neither are bad enough to be distracting. The average bitrate is 7.48Mbps. The 5.1 Dolby Digital audio (at 384kbps) allows the film's pumpin' UK garage and rap soundtrack (supported by an original score by Adam F) to predominate whenever it needs to, but otherwise the mix is very modest.

The film is supported by a good bunch of "bone-us" materials, including an in-character commentary track, featuring Ali and his best mate Ricky C (The Office's Martin Freeman). The track gets of to a hesitant start, as if the two actors were only just realising how difficult it would be to explain how they, as the two characters, would be commenting on being in the film they're discussing. Before long, though, they get into the swing of things, and are even able to discuss each other's acting. You won't learn much more than which of the supporting actresses (including Hollow Man's Rhona Mitri) was the most "fit", but it's almost as amusing as the film itself.

The disc also contains about eighteen minutes of "scenes not in it, innit" (a significant chunk, since the film is only about seventy-five minutes long, not including the end credits). Most of them feature plot exposition that wasn't needed, or unnecessary tangents from the central plot of the film. None are particularly funny, but one or two would have pushed the film's bad taste quotient a little further. This section also includes four minutes of outtakes and goofs. Ali also presents Me Video Diary (12m) - also in character - which includes footage from the film's opening sequence, which was shot in L.A.  Talkin' The Talk is a short sequence of scenes translating some of Ali's patois into English. There's also an animated photo' gallery, and three trailers, including one that spoofs Ali (Michael Mann's boxing biopic), that features especially-shot footage. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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