Tuesday, 26 March 2013

No.83 : The Infidel

The Infidel at the IMDb
 Thousands of years of religious strife are sorted out in 90 minutes in this largely mirth free and simplistic British comedy.

Comedian and certainly not actor Omid Djalili stars as a fat middle-aged Muslim who runs a taxi firm. He has an unfeasibly young and attractive wife and a son who is hoping to marry his girlfriend if he can impress her step father. Omid is a pleasant enough chap unless he comes across his bete noir - black taxi cabs.

He has recently lost his mother and runs afoul of a Jewish taxi driver who lives across the road from mum’s house. After this brief preamble we quickly reach the crux of the matter as the Muslim Omid finds his birth certificate and, after a funny stint from Miranda Hart, discovers he’s adopted and is in fact Jewish.

Meanwhile his son reveals that his father in law to be is a radical cleric who is stirring up hatred in the community. Omid is aghast but to keep his son happy he dons his Muslim dress and bones up on his Koran. Choosing to complicate matters somewhat he tries to trace his Jewish father and after a rebuke from Matt Lucas’ rabbi he also mugs up on his Torah after enlisting the help of the once unfriendly Jewish cab driver. With all these worlds colliding you could be forgiven for thinking mirth will ensue - it totally doesn’t.

To delve into his twin culture Omid attends an anti Israel rally and becomes a flash point for the campaign when he burns his mistakenly exposed skullcap to appease the radical elements of the crowd. To keep the balance he also attend a Bar Mitzvah with his new friend but will soon have to choose sides.

That predictable modern plot point of ‘Youtube sensation’ threatens to derails his schemes of supporting his son and meeting the father who gave him up.

Can a ridiculous subplot involving an 80’s pop sensation save the day and can the radical Muslim crowd be convinced that love and togetherness is the way forward?

To be honest this film was better than I thought but it had way too few laughs to sustain what was a preachy message about all getting on together. Omid is a likable guy but I wasn’t buying into his character’s arc which was all over the place like Noah with a wonky sat-nav.

The eventual resolution was way too easy and simplistic, and the idea that a room full of Muslims who turn up to hear a radical preacher speak are so easy swayed beggared belief. The exposure of the nasty cleric was also too pat and although foreshadowed it was too reliant on coincidence and indeed a requirement to be detached from reality.

The best parts of the film belonged to the cameo turns such as Matt Lucas, Miranda Hart and Tony Hayers off ‘Alan Partridge’. There were a couple of decent recurring gags such as people asking that Omid not to do the ‘inverted commas’ gesture but overall the message was too blatant and the resolution too far fetched and drawn out to retain any goodwill as the credits rolled.

THE Tag Line : Excommunicate!  58%

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