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West Is West (2011)

Same Family, Different Country

Starring:

Aqib Khan

Dhanalaxmi Padmakumar

Jimi Mistry

Linda Bassett

Om Puri

Robert Pugh

Sheeba Chaddha

Thomas Russell

Vanessa Hehir

Vijay Raaz

Yograj Singh

Directed by:

Andy DeEmmony

Rating: 6/10

Running Time: 103 minutes

UK Certificate: 15

Country: United Kingdom

It’s 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 he’s also having his father’s 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 Khan’s family problems.

It’s 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 doesn’t 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.

It’s refreshing to see the Pakistan pilgrimage in a better light than the usual Al-Qaeda training trip (and yes, I realise I’ve put one such film in the ‘alternatives’ section) as it’s becoming a bit like the modern obsession with intergeneration male bonding being automatically linked to paedophilia. Overall, for a comedy sequel, it’s 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

Alternatives:

East Is East, Four Lions, Monsoon Wedding

Summary

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.

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