Thursday, 15 April 2010
REVIEW: The Infidel
Knowing what I do of David Baddiel, I can very much believe that this came from his brain. Its simultaneously arrogant and gutless, and nowhere near funny enough to justify either. If you really, really like comedian/actor ( an order of phrasing I choose very deliberately) Omid Djalili then you may enjoy him being toned down and channeled through Baddiel's depressingly average voice. This is the kind of film that has me fuming at the British Film industry to be honest. Not because its bad, but for a film dealing with potentially interesting stuff, its lack of ambition both comedically and thematically makes me want to hit something or someone in the face.
In the end, The Infidel becomes one of those painful opposites attract buddy movies, in which two guys from different racial or religious backgrounds rip on each other from not being from their respective racial or religious background, and a fun time is had by all. Now despite its near sickly familiarity, this kind of movie can work as enjoyable trash if the dialogue is smart enough and the actors likable enough. But in the Infidel, the writing is sappily predictable and almost groan-inducing, and an over reliance on very broad jokes about racial stereotypes. ( Hey guys.. Do you know what I noticed...(awkward pause)... Jews totally like money! They can't get enough of it. Isn't that crazy!! like totally C-R-A-Z-Y.) I wouldn't call it racism, because that would be babyish, but its lazy writing and shows as much insight into Jewish and muslim life as did Steve Martin's Bringin' Down The House did into black culture. Djalili is good enough, and while I'll say I didn't find him that amusing, he did handle the actual acting a bit better then expected. But the only thing I actively liked in this movie was Richard Schiff, in a rare role that gives him more then ten minutes of screen time. Anyone who has seen The West Wing knows that nobody delivers cynical, contemptuous sarcasm quite like Schiff, and if the dialogue isn't as good here by a long way, he's still on awesome on screen presence.
But to be honest this kind of movie that makes people look at the cinema of our great homeland with contempt, such is its lifeless mediocrity. Its just so, erm how to best phrase this, naff. Uncool. Square. And many more synonyms to the same effect.