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|Index||16 reviews in total|
This film was more slapstick than horror, but it also had charm. I don't believe this film was meant to be a serious comment on the British Asian way of life, just a wry look at the lengths this mother would go to in order to secure a husband for her daughter. The characters were engaging, making me want to know what was going to happen to them all, and I never yawned once, which is a good barometer of an entertaining film in my opinion. Some scenes had me wanting to jump up and join in, while another was an obvious homage to a 70's horror movie, but with an amusing twist. If you want cerebral,don't bother, but if you want to have a laugh, go for it.
I cannot believe that I have just come back from watching this film at the cinema, and the best thing about going was watching the film trailers before the actual film started. This is categorised as a "comedy horror"....it wasn't funny, and it would not scare my 5 year old nephew. The scary part was how bad the acting was and the storyline. The film concept did not work and it felt like a lot of the attempted jokes were too forced. The director attempted to make a film that would appeal to everyone but ended up as a huge disaster and did not have the fundamentals of being a good film. The director has made other hit films such as Bend It Like Beckham and Bride and Predajice and they were much more entertaining to watch. It was very surprised that such a highly rated directer managed to make such a mess of this film and I cannot think of one memorable part of the film that would encourage me to recommend it to others.
One of the funniest movies in a while! The director gets the whole
Indians abroad thing to absolute perfection. One felt like one had met
everyone on screen before! All the actors except Shabhana Azmi were
really good. OK...the actor who plays her daughter wasn't brilliant
either but at least she wasn't full of herself. The plot itself was
rather cute and the editing is very well done. Only issue with it is
that the target audience is rather limited. You need to either be an
Indian living abroad or know enough Indians living abroad to get most
of the jokes. The whole thing is not to be taken seriously for even a
moment of course!
This one gives Bend it like Beckham a serious run for its money.
Let me start with the end, which is the end credits Stayin Alive with
Punjabi Remixed and the bloopers in the movie that are running with it.
Its like two best worlds coming together!! Only Bally Sagoo could have
pulled this off!! I really like Gurinder Chaddha movies since Bend It
like Beckham, the whole Punjabi touch to the movie that she gets, the
wedding season and the all the food that comes with it which is like
what Punjabis die for (or work for). In this movie, you had all the
elements put in place, you have good music, wedding, punjabi style the
whole NRI culture based out of London. The other added elements that
make it a dark comedy, but surely not scary.
Overall with all the elements are placed the only thing is it NOT a typical romance film with some really funny moments.
Granted the expectations were high because of Shabana Azmi but then
again, what can one expect from Gurinder Chaddha. With the exception of
her segment in 'Paris, Je T'Aime', I haven't been impressed by any of
her work. That said, 'It's a Wonderful Afterlife' isn't that bad. I
prefer it over the boring 'Bride and Brejudice'.
The minus points are that Chaddha relies on too many Indian British clichés which have been done to death in many other films. I thought Azmi would have more screen time but was disappointed in that respect. The title is misleading. The story had so much potential but Chaddha messes it up. I didn't find the sequences with the ghosts to be amusing.
Now the plus is that most of the jokes work. I was laughing out loud especially at the sequences with Sally Hawkins. The 'Carrie' homage, though out of place, had me laughing out loud. I thought Shabana Azmi was great with what she was given. she's mostly let down by the poor script. Goldy Notay is quite likable. Sendhil Ramamurthy is limited to playing the typical love interest. Zoe Wanamaker is wasted. Sally Hawkins is a scene stealer.
Overall, I didn't mind 'It's a Wonderful Afterlife' for a one-time-watch. It made me laugh even though it could have easily been a much better movie.
Certainly not as bad as other reviews have made out. I knew nothing about the film in advance but had an expectation of a humorous horror. That's what I got. I didn't expect an Oscar winner, or something taxing with multiple subplots, or some subtext relating to Bolshevik Russia - and I wasn't disappointed in this. In terms of horror, comedy, crime thriller, love story, family relationships and everything else thrown into the film I found most aspects were topped by other films. None of these bits rose above the others and none stood out as particularly good. It was therefore a bit mellow and so a pretty simple watch. Some pop stars these days are raved about but I really wouldn't have them as anything other than background music at a dinner party. This warranted a bit more attention than a background film whilst I potter about the house, although I was occasionally tempted to grab a cup of tea and check my phone for emails/messages without pausing it. I am sure was not the wish of the director/producer. However, there was enough to hold me for the whole film. I thought the presentation and acting was as expected with the whole thing being slightly above average - hence the 6/10.
Unfairly slated Ealing-style slapstick comedy. Obviously fun to make,
with familiar faces and heart-warming family drama, along the lines of
"OMG what is Mum doing now?", as she tries to solve her daughter's
seemingly non-existent marriage prospects. Along the way, the audience
bops along to Indian remixes of popular western disco and pop, and
wonders how an unlikely murderer will meet their fate. The plot is
unsophisticated yet gripping. The dialog is natural, with gags, but the
film's undeniable humour comes from the same loving, awkward moments
that drive it's story. I can't see anyone walking out of this movie,
unless they don't wish to be entertained.
It's a Wonderful Afterlife (2010) is not a work-of-art, not a beautifully made film. But it does not try to be. It is a funny murder-love-story with falling down moments, with familiar actors having a blast making ridiculous comedy. If you want a horror show, or a logical plot, then it may let you down. But for laughs, and for a screenful of some of our most popular actors (with new faces too), it will tickle you. Nothing much to complain about here, if you love life.
While I understand the Indian masala films usually involve having
everything including the kitchen sink thrown into the plot, which will
have enough room for the story to combine romance, mystery, drama,
comedy, song and dance all together for possibly something for everyone
to enjoy, It's a Wonderful Afterlife somehow had all these ingredients
coming together, but felt a little too contrived at mixing everything
up and gelling them all nicely, especially since it had a trailer
that's not quite accurate, and it seemed more like a typical 3 hour
film rather than its 100 minute duration.
Gurinder Chadha's more famous for her directorial breakthrough Bend It Like Beckham, which arguably introduced Kieira Knightley to the world, and here she combines an ensemble with the likes of Jimi Mistry, Sally Hawkins and the Indian actors Sanjeev Bhaskar, Shaheen Khan, Adlyn Ross and Ash Varrez in a film that started like an investigative drama with a potential serial killer on the loose in the Southall district of London, the policeman D S Murthy (Sendhil Ramamurthy) who had been transferred in for investigative work in his own community to sniff out details of the suspects, Roopi (Goldy Notay) and her mother Mrs Sethi (Shabana Azmi) who is desperate for the former to get married with much of her rejection based on her plumpish looks, Roopi's best friend Linda (Hawkins) who finds her inner Indian self and is somewhat of a self-taught spiritual guru, and the list goes on.
At best, the plot and its subplots were extremely scattered, and somehow it seemed that Chadha didn't manage to find common ground for all of them to coexist, with each plot line threatening to upstage and distract one from others. Prime to everything hinged on Mrs Sethi's rather protective quest to look for a potential husband for her daughter Roopi, and how the former's dealing with rejection led to an eventual five spirits tagging along with her, who through her guilty conscious is the only one able to see them all. The cat is let out of the bag early, and it's somehow not so much of a mystery other than a zany comedy to have these friendly ghouls make jokes at every opportunity.
The romantic leads of Sendhil Ramamurthy and Goldy Notay also lacked believable chemistry though the rushed romance didn't help their cause since the detective also had to juggle an ulterior motive, while that between Jimy Mistry and Sally Hawkins went down the road to explore how some people groove to the beat of other cultures since they're not at home with their own. Sally Hawkins though had a single major scene which mimicked a horror film where a woman scorned unleashes hell on earth during her own party, probably a comedic highlight of the film that defied all logic and pushed the film toward absurdity.
I had enjoyed Gurinder Chadha's works such as Bride and Prejudice, and Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging, but somehow this entry into her filmography seemed like a step back. Let's how she finds her groove back pretty soon with a stronger and more coherent story rather than leaving things scattered around.
After a string of good films, especially the delightful "Bend it Like Beckham", Chadha seems to have lost her footing. My favourite parts of the movie were the outdoor scenes in London's Southall community. It brought back childhood memories of the area. The acting is decent but the plot, even by screwball comedy standards, is completely unbelievable. I get that Chadha is satirizing the extent to which Indian mothers will go to marry off their offspring. Like thousands of other asians i've experienced that scene in the sikh temple (Gurdwara) first hand. In fact, the scenes depicting everyday life are done very well. What spoils the picture is the whole ghost thing. First off all there is no explanation as to how a mild mannered mother would commit such violent crimes. Surely, a subtle poisoning would have been more believable. Then there is the appearance of the "ghosts". They're not scary - just visually unappealing. Makes much of the film nauseating to watch. In the "making of" feature, on the DVD, one can tell that Chadha finds them hilarious. I just found them gross. Chadha also says the "Carrie" scene was her favourite. Again, I can't agree. It was sheer self-indulgence to film it - it adds nothing to the story. After the dismal financial failure of this ego driven piece, hopefully, Chadha will go back to what she does best - show the foibles, follies, and delights of life in the Asian community in London.
Gurinder Chadha brings on her masala mix with the punningly titled Its
a wonderful afterlife.
People in Southall are getting murdered rather gruesomely. In a homage to se7en one of them is forced to eat curry until he chokes and his stomach explodes. However all of the newly dead seemed to be stuck in a halfway ghostly state with their murderer.
Their crimes? They called the murderer's daughter fat, too big to get married. Goldy Notay is the slightly on the heavy side jilted fiancée with a good heart but causing her mum (Shabana Azmi) to be stressed as she feels Goldy is being left on the shelf.
Sally Hawkins plays Goldy's best friend who has acquiesced new age Indian beliefs after trip to India. Sendhil Ramamurthy is an old pal of Goldy who is also the police officer investigating the murders and has a thing for Goldy.
After a crafty title you feel the film will be a riff on the more famous James Stewart film but its a soppy love story which takes bits from other movies. There is a Carrie bit, some of it reminded me of Stardust. Some of the characters were not believable, why was Mark Addy's Detective Inspector hell bent on framing Goldy up for the murders when DNA evidence ruled her out?
There are a lot of fat jokes, many of them predictable and unfunny and overall although the film is amiable enough with a nice use of Black's hit song 'Its's a wonderful life' used in a sequence, I felt the film was undercooked both as a romance and a masala comedy.
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