West Is West (2010)
Average Rating: 5.4/10
Reviews Counted: 22
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Critic Reviews: 2
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Average Rating: 3.3/5
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The dysfunctional and multi-cultural Khan family returns to the screen in this follow-up to the 1998 hit comedy East Is East. It's 1976 in Salford, England, and life, as always, is chaotic in the home of traditionally minded Pakistani immigrant George (Om Puri) and his working-class British wife Ella (Linda Bassett). Their 15-year-old son Sajid (Aqib Khan) is a target for racist bullies at school and has been picked up for shoplifting, so George decides to take him to Pakistan to learn something
Mar 25, 2011 Limited
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It takes some getting used to, but be patient: Within the madness, there's definitely a method, and rewards for the reaping.
With no culture-clash cliché left unplundered, Andy DeEmmony sets his camera to autopilot for a film which never decides who or what it's about.
Although the comedy feels as broad as the Atlantic initially, once the main characters are transplanted to Pakistan things look up as the script begins to properly probe the emotional flaws of the characters rather than just opting for cheap laughs.
Broad, evasive and oppressively feelgood in tone, an affair over which veils should be drawn.
Once again, it is Puri's commanding presence that holds the film together, though as Sajid, young Aqib Khan has enough natural charm and confidence to make him an endearing scene-stealer.
It amounts to an amiable enough way to kill a couple of hours, but that's about it.
It may avoid politics, but something is stirring beneath the fart jokes and biracial blunders.
Perhaps it doesn't have the novelty of the first film, but it's refreshingly un-parochial, with charm and fun, and Bassett and Puri are reliably excellent.
By trying to do something different with the characters, the film omits much of the good-hearted yet slightly edgy laughter we enjoyed so much the first time round.
The humour has broadened as surely as the vision and human authenticity have narrowed.
It's colourfully shot, with a few witty lines, and pretty watchable. It's just not as good as the original.
Its heart is definitely in the right place. But there's more to comedy than funny accents. And daubing on Eastern profundities like lumpy henna won't cover the cracks.
It raises and addresses that deep-seated desire engrained in of us all: the sense of belonging and need for identity, without which we fail to really understand ourselves.
Eleven years on but without a great deal more to add, DeEmmony's saga runs out of gas.
A cross-cultural sequel that's as gently comical as the first was satirical. Despite lashings of Eastern promise, it's as British as a chip butty.
West Is West is something of a lightweight. Think of all that's happened since 1999. You wouldn't have guessed it from this.
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