x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

A clichéd start leads to surprising pathos

A clichéd start leads to surprising pathos in West Is West.


West Is West 

Director: Andy DeEmmony 

Starring: Om Puri, Linda Bassett Aqib Khan

Ten years ago East Is East became a surprise hit in the UK as it detailed the travails of an Anglo-Pakistani family in Salford, Manchester. Clichés and stereotypes abound, but that didn't stop the box-office tills ringing, and now a decade later, a sequel arrives in the hope of resurrecting the audience that used to clamour for British-Asian culture-clash comedies.

Andy DeEmmony has replaced Damien O'Donnell in the director's chair, but the second film starts with the same brand of humour as the first with the Khans portrayed as outsiders struggling to make an impact on British life.

This begs the question as to why bother with a second film, however, the answer comes in an improved second half that sees the action move from Salford to the Pakistani Punjab.

Om Puri reprises the role of patriarch George Khan. When his youngest son Sajid is caught shoplifting, he decides to take him to Pakistan to discover his heritage and some discipline. On their arrival, the movie falls into a series of cheap laughs and stereotypes, as Sajid is portrayed as a coconut (brown on the outside, white on the inside) and struggles to adapt to his new surroundings.

The action is saved, however, by the arrival of Ella (Linda Bassett), George's Irish-Catholic wife, an event that forces George to look at himself and what it means to be a man trapped between two cultures. At least in the finale, the film gains a surprising pathos.

October 20, Marina Mall Cinestar 6, 6.30pm.