Whatever Lola Wants (2007)
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Laura Ramsey is pretty and winning. It's a feel good story and provides subtle insights into the cultural and moral differences found in Egyptian society. It's not preachy but quite touching in the way it shows the attitudes of men towards women, divorce etc. It's not a tourist view of Egypt but an insightful looks into the society there. The human relationships are in the forefront in the movie.
The actress who plays the former belly dancer star Ismahan is quite lovely.
Definitely worth a watch.
The plot is that an aspiring New York dancer is pushed by circumstances to come to Egypt. She becomes the apprentice of a very good belly dancer and reaches tarab before the end of the movie.
Bottom line: there are some interesting items of fact about the Arab culture, especially when involving women, but the point of view is so extremely American that it felt fake. The dancer was cute, but she didn't strike me as very good, nor was she a good actress. While the film could inspire some people that are passionate about dancing, it has very few other good parts.
The film is mildly sympathetic if a bit slow, a bit predictable and much too cute - every problem the idiot heroine creates for herself is solved too easily. There is a disturbing contrast between the realistic backgrounds and absurd plot. The leading actress is just right as the gorgeous American airhead and all the actors are credible as their characters - the problem is that what the characters do is constantly unbelievable. The ending is extremely lame.
The most annoying thing in the film is the heroine's gay friend. He is such a cliché, we have seen him do the same things in countless films and TV series. Why couldn't this person be an Egyptian woman instead of a gay man? That would have been much more believable and logical.
I'm not going to take this movie very seriously since it was just very fun , casual and easy going Cinderella story and you surely will love if you are in your sweet sixteen , or even teenage years ,specially if you are a girl but older than that you may only enjoy the music more than the corny story which by the way was not even close to reality ! How on earth ONLY the talent can be enough for a blond girl to become a star in the world of SHOWBIZ in a country like Egypt where all the producers are men and crave for white blonds??? I rest my case !
There is charm, humor, a kind of romantic atmosphere all along the movie. This is a movie in the line of The band's visit,The Yacoubian Building, Caramel, all of them realized between 2006 and 2007 and a must see for any open minded viewer who wishes to understand the middle east culture. And of course from my personal view point I could recognize some of the places I went through as a child. A great movie, a must to see.