Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 June 2019

Film review: Bahraini comedy duo continue their funny streak in Torbal Rayeh Wa Jayeh

Bahraini comics Ali El Ghoureir and Khalil El Roumeithy bring back the laughs in new big screen outing

Still from Torbal Rayeh Wa Jayeh.
Still from Torbal Rayeh Wa Jayeh.

The duo behind one of the Arabian Gulf’s most popular television comedies continue their smooth transition to the big screen. Bahraini funny men Ali El Ghoureir and Khalil El Roumeithy team up again on their second film outing, Torbal Rayeh Wa Jayeh (Torbal’s Coming and Going).

It’s a loose sequel to 2016’s Sawalef Tafash (named after their television series) in that it features mostly the same supporting cast and a similar fish out of water plotline.

Where that film had the two on-screen brothers testing their street smarts in a South American forest, this time they are transported to the concrete jungle of Cairo.

El Ghoureir and El Roumeithy play the bumbling brothers Torbal and Ghorbal. Both get fired on their first day of their respective new jobs – Torbal, the pool attendant, for refusing to save a drowning kid and the parking attendant, Ghorbal, for taking a sports car on a lunch date – and come home to discover their mother ill.

With no finances to fund the trip to Germany for medical treatment, their goat herder uncle, Hadi (Kuwaiti Khaled Al Ajeerb), finances a cost-effective trip to a mediocre hospital in Cairo.

It is here that they meet their hard-nosed Egyptian tour guide Abdou (Mostafa Abo Seria) who has money problems of his own.

Torbal Rayeh Wa Jayeh has been hailed by its two leads as one of the first major film collaborations between the Bahraini and Egyptian film industry through its blend of Egyptian actors and production crew.

On the performance front, it works really well. The film illustrates the different comedy styles of both the Gulf and Egypt.

Where the Khaleeji style – embodied by Torbal, Ghorbal and Hadi – relies on a certain amount of slapstick and whimsy, the Egyptian variety is more dialogue driven with the biggest laughs coming from the many histrionic rants Abdou delivers throughout the film.

It is on the production front where the multinational partnership doesn’t work, in that it doesn’t look like a collaboration at all. With the film neatly split in two halves – the first in Manama and the latter in Cairo – it felt like you were watching two different films.

The Bahraini section had a rugged look to it with plenty of hand-held camera work and unnecessarily long comedic sequences, while the Cairo half of the story was more refined.

It is not clear if that’s the reflection of the quality of the crews in each country but experienced Egyptian director Ahmed Abdulla Saleh (who directed 2016 drama Shakat Dabous) should have provided some unity to the proceedings.

That said, Torbal Rayeh Wa Jayeh ultimately succeeds due to the sheer will and enthusiasm of its cast. There are enough laughs and heart here to ensure more outings from El Ghoureir and El Roumeithy.

Torbal Rayeh Wa Jayeh is showing in cinemas


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Updated: January 22, 2018 10:21 AM