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My Uncle Rafael
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My Uncle Rafael More at IMDbPro »

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12 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

You can still make an excellent movie without a big budget

8/10
Author: (jeffgld@earthlink.net) from United States
16 November 2010

My wife and I just saw a preview of My Uncle Rafael and what a pleasant surprise. Well written, acted and directed we found ourselves laughing out loud many times. The main plot involves an Armenian family and how they get mixed up in an American Television pilot for a reality TV show. The movie begins with Uncle Rafael an Armenian immigrant taking a course in English so he can better communicate and we are slowly introduced to the rest of his family all trying to make a good life in Glendale California.Vashik Pirhamzei does a great job portraying both Uncle Rafael and the smooth-talking son,Hamo.As the movie progresses we meet all sorts of characters with all sorts of motives for the success of this television show. John Michael Higgins is hilarious as a sleazy lawyer and Austin Robert Butler is an outstanding young actor at only 10 years old. All the acting is excellent; you would never guess that this movie was made for only $800,000! The director and editor, Marc Fusco did an outstanding job. If you're looking for an unpretentious pleasant movie going experience, you won't be disappointed.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

I laughed in first 3 minutes and didn't stop the whole movie!

10/10
Author: jberry007 from United States
15 May 2011

I saw this film in Boston at a film festival. Wasn't going to go because it was raining, but I'm really glad because it was soooo well done. I told my family about this and some friends and now we're waiting for the release. When will it come out? My Armenian friend (my date) laughed at all the Armenian family stuff. The cast was freakin perfect and everyone of them made me laugh at some point. For a PG13 comedy, it KILLED and the audience loved it. The blue dress scene at the school was brilliant! The Armenian actor Vahik playing Uncle Rafael also played his son and he blew me away. He was there with his producers and answered questions. He will be discovered because of this film. John Michael Higgins was funny too.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

We all need somebody like Rafael

6/10
Author: Steve Pulaski from United States
17 July 2013

My Uncle Rafael is genial enough for kids to view but not good enough to particularly recommend. It plays like one gigantic, scrupulous parable and sometimes forgets it's also supposed to be entertaining. It has its heart in the right place, as most family films do, but its execution, punchlines, and dialog sometimes make it seem more cut out to serve as a homemade film for church than a theatrical production.

The title character is played by Vahik Pirhamzei, who made the character popular in his home country of Armenia. He is a seventy-one year old, bluntly honest uncle who uses morals and dialect from the old country to give people advice and encouragement in present day America. I've always silently felt that in times like these, when people seem to becoming more and more intellectually and morally vapid, that people like Uncle Rafael are almost essential to the prosperity of good-natured wholesomeness in society.

A TV producer thinks so too. Desperate for a show idea, she convinces Rafael in his son's coffee shop to star in the pilot of a reality show, helping a dysfunctional family who is currently filing for divorce. The couple is Blair (Missi Pyle) and Jack (Anthony Clark of TV's Yes, Dear), who have been going through a rough patch since Blair insists that Jack cheated on her the night he got drunk at a party. Their two children, Kim and Beau, are caught in the middle of this, and are finding it difficult to adapt to mom's new boyfriend Damon (John Michael Higgins), a cocky, often obnoxious know-it-all.

Uncle Rafael sees how deeply dysfunctional the family is and tries to lay down ground rules that they must obey. The obligatory happens when we see how everyone but Jack is against Rafael and his old-school ideology until they see that he actually may be able to help them in their marital quandary.

There are two main issues with the premise that must be addressed. One, the comedic elements never seem to be funny or amusing as the writer thinks they should be. The problem is you couldn't do a fish-out-of-water story like this without the fish himself being funny and showing him having a difficult time assimilating to a culture not his own. Most, if not all, of the puns in the film fall flat. When the TV producer asks Rafael if he'd be interested in doing the pilot for the show, he replies, "pilot? But I don't fly." At later points in the film he enjoys quoting and impersonating Jay-Z, as well as cracking strangely unnecessary and - most of all - unfunny jokes about Kim Kardashian. Things like that grow tiresome quickly.

However, I can't fault the film for being at least marginally successfully at its goal, which is to show that life-problems can be repaired with a certain amount of effort and commitment. Pirhamzei does a capable job at bringing his extremely moral character to at least some level where it's possible to have a connection with him. Pyle and Clark have chemistry that's rewarding to watch, and, no matter how textbook everything is solved, there's at least enough human interest to make you want to see these characters come out successful in the long run.

Is there a market for a film like My Uncle Rafael? I suppose but I think you'll have to do a little searching to find it. Many parents may disregard the film for its cultural differences, which while shallow is understandable in a basic sense. However, I do see the parents who courageously buy the film when released not having to sit through it multiple times unlike some kid films. This is the kind of film where the message rings true once and the more you see it the more deluded it gets. Imagine the film being a pitcher Kool-Aid and every time you rewatch the film you had a fourth of a cup of water to the pitcher.

Starring: Vahik Pirhamzei, Missi Pyle, Anthony Clark, and John Michael Higgins. Directed by: Marc Fusco.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Loved Every Minute!

10/10
Author: shominy-491-652355 from United States
28 December 2014

"My Uncle Rafael" is a perfect example of the amazing talents involved in independent movies! We rent a lot of independent movies and are rarely disappointed in them, and "My Uncle Rafael" is one of our very top favorites. We thoroughly enjoyed every second of this movie - from beginning to end. All the actors are great! (Another hilarious role for John Michael Higgins!) We loved every actor/character in this film! The storyline is great - very creative! The editing is great - not a dull moment! We truly loved this movie from beginning to end! "My Uncle Rafael" is better than any mainstream movie we rented this year! Great family film! Very highly recommended!

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Comedy

10/10
Author: curlz4 from Canada
3 November 2012

I really loved this movie.

I had never heard of this movie, but I went with some friends tonight.

As soon as the movie started i couldn't stop laughing. Its been a while since there has been a movie that has made me laugh like that.

I really enjoyed it, and appreciated the humour. The movie is really funny and actually has an important underlying message - the importance of family.

Bonus was coming out of the theatre and the main actor; Vahik was there greeting everyone who saw the film.

I definitely recommend this movie

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Goodnatured, smart comedy for all!

8/10
Author: grocer70 from United States
6 January 2011

Caught an early screening of My Uncle Rafael and it's a real rarity these days -- a good-natured family comedy that will amuse kids over ten years old, without sacrificing any smart, pointed laughs for the rest of us adults. This fun and sweet culture-clash Armenian/American comedy pulls off the difficult trick of being both insightful and satiric, while never being above going for a broad laugh. Familiar-face comic actors Joe Lo Truglio, Anthony Clark, and especially Missi Pyle and John Michael Higgins (who are hilarious), provide very funny support for the extremely impressive newcomer Vahik Pirhamzei, who really shines in two completely different lead roles. Keep an eye out for Uncle Rafael!

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

funny!

9/10
Author: tdubmusic from United States
1 January 2011

This is a really funny indie film that's great entertainment for the whole family. I was lucky enough to see this film in its first screening. The film's star Vahik Pirhamzei plays multiple characters in this film and pulls it off surprisingly well. I saw this movie with my girlfriends and we all loved it. This movie was apparently shot in Los Angeles on a very low indie budget but you wouldn't know it. The whole cast was really funny, especially John Higgins and Missi Pyle (who is consistently funny in everything).

This movie showcases an Armenian family in the same way that Big Fat Greek Wedding did for the Greek community. This is a really funny movie that I would recommend to anybody who is looking for some family entertainment.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Fantastic and Funny!

8/10
Author: cmermaidfly from United States
31 December 2010

I caught an early screening of "My Uncle Rafael" and loved it. It was refreshing to see an Armenian/American family portrayed on the big screen. How original! Turns out Kim Kardashian isn't the only Armenian in America! Who knew! I can't say enough about Missy Pyle and John Michael Higgins. These two together are comedy GOLD. Vahik Pirhamzel did an excellent job portraying two characters. This type of device usually takes me out of the movie but I kept forgetting it was one actor in two roles. It was also amazing to see Anthony Clark again! All you "Yes Dear" fans will be delighted. This movie was done with a shockingly low budget and I never would've guessed it. This is a great date and/or family movie. Hearwarming, charming and laugh out loud funny. Loved it!

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Really funny film.

8/10
Author: Bajan Valarian from United States
26 December 2010

This film shot around my home town of Glendale earlier this year. I was invited to a screening and I was really impressed. It was very endearing and funny. Lots of good casting and comedic acting. I have been a big fan of Vahik for years and he was very funny. The rest of the American cast was really funny too. The Hollywood film community and the local Armenian community came together to make this film and its the first time Armenian cast and characters is featured in a Hollywood film. My wife and I really enjoyed it we hope to see it in the theater again. Great family movie for both Armenian and American families. Hoping the soundtrack comes out soon. Armenchik is great! Will see it again in theaters I hope.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Charming Surprise

8/10
Author: chris aronoff from United States
23 December 2010

Despite an unlikely sitcom scenario of an Armenian fish WAY out of water who winds up in a typically-dysfunctional American family, My Uncle Rafael is packed with charm. A talented cast headed by writer-actor Vahik Pirhamzei delivers consistent laughs, smiles, and moments of culture-clashing nervous excitement. John Michael Higgins gives a laugh-out-loud performance as a scumbag husband/attorney you'll love to hate -- if this were a bigger studio movie, he would be getting huge buzz off this performance for sure. Doe-eyed Rachel Blanchard is a pleasure to watch as well; the camera loves her. Well worth grabbing on cable or DVD.

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