Thursday, 26 August 2010

It's a Wonderful Afterlife: Movie Review

It's a Wonderful Afterlife: Movie Review

It's A Wonderful Afterlife
Rating: 3/10
Cast: Goldy Notay, Shabana Azmi, Sendhil Ramamurthy, Sanjeev Bhaskar
Director: Gurindha Chadha
From director of Bend It Like Beckham comes this latest cinematic outing.
It's A Wonderful Afterlife is the tale of Mrs Sethi (Azmi) an Indian mother living in London whose daughter Roopi (Notay) is a constant unlucky in love girl.
Continually rejected Roopi stands no chance of being married off - but her mother has other plans turning to the murder of those who have disrespected or mocked her daughter.
However, she finds the spirits of the slain coming back to haunt her - as the police continue to investigate the killings.
And things get further complicated for Mrs Sethi and Roopi as Roopi falls for Sendhil Ramamurthy Raj, a DI investigating the case..
It's A Wonderful Afterlife feels like a film harking back to the 1960s - while director Chadha has said she was after channeling Ealing comedies, it's the script and some terrible jokes which don't help. Everyone gives fair performances but with such a clunker of a script, it's hard for any of them to rise out of the mire.
It's supposed to be a horror comedy - with homages to Carrie and Alien, it's clear Chadha has honourable intentions - but with a succession of unwelcome fat jokes, it's, to be frank, a major disappointment.
I get that it's supposed to reflect and to some level parody attitudes within Indian communities towards marriage (and even reincarnation) but it just doesn't rise out of clich├ęd humour and stereotypes which are frustrating in the extreme. And it builds and builds towards a staged but at times amusing homage to Carrie - complete with curry explosions.
Of the ghosts which haunt Mrs Sethi, UK comedian Sanjeev Bhaskar has the lion's share of the funny lines (as you'd expect) as a philandering husband whose stomach explodes at the start of the film thanks to a poisoned curry - and then spends the rest of the film with his innards hanging out.

Maybe 20 or 30 years ago this film would be welcome - but in this 21st century, it leaves as much of a terrible after taste as a over seasoned curry reheated two days after a night out on the town.

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