The Infidel (15)
Friday 09 April 2010
And talking of faith, David Baddiel's debut screenplay pitches Judaism against Islam in a potentially incendiary face-off.
Omid Djalili plays Mahmud, a London family man and Muslim of no especial devoutness who, on the death of his mother, discovers that he was actually born to Jewish parents, then adopted.
His real name? Solly Shimshillewitz. Needing to mug up on the culture of Jewishness – not quite the same thing as Judaism – he throws himself on the mercy of Lenny (Richard Schiff) who, in another unlikely transplant, is a Jewish-American black cab driver: how to say "oy" with a shrug, how to dance like Topol, and so on. (The Talmud doesn't get a look-in). The first 20 minutes or so hit a confident stride and raise some laughs, including a good running gag on that irksome habit of scratching quotation marks in the air, while Djalili and Schiff work up a droll double-act in the search for Mahmud's new identity. But it doesn't last, undone less by the weak subplot about his son's prospective father-in-law (a visiting radical Muslim) than a drastic collapse in quality control: the sly humour at the outset dwindles into scattergun farce, dubious fantasy sequences and can't-we-just-get-along mawkishness.
Ambitious to try a comic variation on Philip Roth's great The Human Stain, but it also requires subtlety, discipline and tougher editing.
Robin Thicke admits he didn't write 'Blurred Lines'music
Review: Cilla, ITV TV
To mark Tolstoy's 186th birthdaybooks
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Scottish independence: Ireland since 1919 is a lesson for Scotland in what a Yes vote means
- 2 Thailand deaths: Pair's bloodied bodies found naked on Koh Tao beach
- 3 Vogue under fire for 'Big Booty' article
- 4 Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
- 5 Kanye West stops concert after two fans don't stand up - doesn't realise one is in wheelchair and the other disabled
Robin Thicke admits he didn't write 'Blurred Lines'
Lego breaks out of the toy box and heads for the gallery
Cilla, ITV, review: Sheridan Smith embodies the young singer perfectly
Doctor Who, Listen, review: Possibly Steven Moffat's most terrifying episode
Tyler, The Creator says having new U2 album automatically downloaded on his iPhone was 'like waking up with herpes'
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
Scottish independence: Nationalist leader Jim Sillars threatens pro-union companies with 'day of reckoning' after independence
Scottish independence: Yes campaign feels the heat as Alex Salmond's NHS claims come under furious attack
£23m Birmingham cycle scheme is attacked by Tory councillor for not catering to the elderly
Portuguese academic says British are 'filthy, violent and drunk'