Ali G Indahouse (2002)

<strong class="MovieTitle">Ali G Indahouse</strong> (2002)

(On cable TV, April 2012) Sasha Baron Cohen became quite a bit better-known in 2006 after Borat‘s runaway success, lending retroactive interest to his earlier feature film.  His debut Ali G Indahouse features Cohen’s dim wannabee rap-gangster alter-ego as he improbably gets elected to Britain’s parliament and uses his passion for sex, drugs and rap music to make the world a better place.  Unlike Cohen’s subsequent Borat and Brüno, this one seems entirely scripted.  It definitely has a few funny moments, but the entire film runs a bit thin. Not only is Ali G’s character a one-note annoyance, unfit to sustain a feature-length film, but the script depends on idiot-plotting writ large: even allowing for the unreality of silly comedies, this one requires a lot of disbelief.  But there are compensations: the soundtrack is an impressive greatest-hits blend, Cohen fully commits himself to the material, Borat makes a cameo appearance and there are a few good jokes here and there.  As a borderline stoner-comedy, it works more often than it doesn’t; even the annoyances don’t suck all the joy out of it.

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