Same Family, Different Country
Running Time: 103 minutes
UK Certificate: 15
Country: United Kingdom
Its 1975 four years on from East is East and the overbearing George Khan (Puri) is still ruling over what is left of his family with a rod of iron. Sajid (Aqib Khan) is the runt of the litter and not only is he going through a pubescent crisis but hes also having his fathers traditional Pakistani beliefs rammed down his throat. Believing he needs to sort his struggling son out, George takes Sajid to Pakistan on a voyage of cultural discovery, only for his English wife Ella (Bassett) to tag along with an entourage from back home, who sets about trying to solve the Khans family problems.
Its always a bit of a worry when a sequel takes so long to materialise as more often than not it feels like an after-thought or a film made by a down-on-their-luck team desperate for another success. West Is West is not great but it definitely doesnt fall into the pointless or plain awful categories. There are plenty of laughs along the way and the cultural context of Pakistan is certainly not underused. However, it misses a bit of the hard-hitting drama and pathos of East Is East and the feel-good factor seems a bit forced at times.
Its refreshing to see the Pakistan pilgrimage in a better light than the usual Al-Qaeda training trip (and yes, I realise Ive put one such film in the alternatives section) as its becoming a bit like the modern obsession with intergeneration male bonding being automatically linked to paedophilia. Overall, for a comedy sequel, its not a bad effort but only to be watched if you enjoyed the first one.
It's Got: Enough laughs, sympathetic characters, a different context
It Needs: A bit more of the serious bite that East Is East had in abundance
Not as good as East is East as it misses a bit of the hard-hitting punch of it’s predecessor but it’s still got enough laughs to make it worth a watch.