Being a big fan of the TV series Da Ali G Show (some would even say obsessed), I felt that I had to see Ali G Indahouse, even though I had some reservations.
Firstly, I'd found all the other spin-offs to be a bit dissapointing. I'm refering here to the book, and the various "interviews" with Ali G while in character.
The reason for this is two-fold. Firstly, much as though I love his humour, it's very much borderline, in many ways. Borderline in that if it were any more extreme, it'd cross the line and be plain offensive and bad taste. Borderline borderline because in risks becoming primitive and juvenile if it falls out of a very fine tolerance in terms of timing and situation.
Before I saw the movie, I read one article which made a very good point. The funniest Ali G moments from the TV series were definately the interviews, in which he would interview unsuspecting victims, and catch them out with stupid seeming, yet subtly revealing, questions. These interviews are entirely dependant on Ali G being an esoteric, small time phenomenon, obviously if the interviewees had heard of Ali and his tactics, they wouldn't walk straight into his traps.
With this in mind, the interviews, which captured the Ali G humour so well, were doomed to become impossible as the word spread. For me, the TV series was built around the interviews, with the rest being a distraction. And yet the movie relied on weaker non-interview scenes being the main course.
The blatant re-use of some jokes straight out of the TV series also concerned me. Ali G humour is, to a large extent, based on his stupid, one-off misconceptions. Seeing Ali mistake feminism for lesbianism or mixing up Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland with Jews and Muslims was hilarious the first time, but tired the second time around. Still, the new "bi election" gag was funny.
Ali G benefited from elaborate props and scenes in the movie, that couldn't have been done just for a weekly TV series. I'm thinking his dream in L.A., his car, some of his outfits, and the like.
In many ways, it was surprising how little this added to the humour. I guess the setting's pretty irrelevant, it's the joke that matters, and they were no better.
In the end, I agree with what all the reviews say - good but not great, worth seeing but nothing special. But, for me, this was pretty disappointing, given the high regard in which I held the classic TV series in.
I figured that it takes a certain person to really appreciate the Ali humour, so it was entirely likely that it was flying past everyone. This was often the case with the TV series, but, regrettably, not with the film.