Reluctant Infidel - rated - SIMMERING
This sort of humour is a tricky thing to pull off, as you'll
know if you've seen the companion-piece to this film, the superior Four Lions.
But still, here we have a very witty script by David Baddiel (of Baddiel and Skinner fame, a TV
series that used to make me cry laughing). And we have a very
charming central performance by Omid Djalili, as the title
character. He is a not-especially-observant Muslim finds out he
was actually born Jewish, and for convoluted reasons, he has to try to
act Jewish. Queue Richard Schiff (from TV's The West Wing) as the Jew who
volunteers to help. And queue a stream of hilarious Jewish jokes,
playing on and off stereotypes. These are gems.
However, the film itself has script problems - not with the jokes, but
with the story arc - it's pretty hackneyed. And the director seems to
lack the ability to frame the ction very well. There are lots and
lots of closeups, but at other times the action is very oddly observed.
See it for the jokes and the performances. Matt Lucas as a Rabbi
is funny, but somehow not apt.