The Infidel - Blu-ray Review

'features the type of catch-all final speech which should be outlawed in film-making schools across the country'

As a big fan of Omid Djalili, star of Josh Appignanesi's The Infidel, it's difficult for me to write that his film is a shallow and largely un-funny collection of decent one-liners, moulded together into a wafer thin plot which provides distraction for one-hundred minutes but not a whole lot else. Write it though I must, because this race-related comedy about race relations is a huge missed opportunity which lacks in several departments, not least of all its conclusions.

Looking back now it should all have been so obvious: why, for example, do we spend so much time watching Mahmod (Djalili) watching a fictional new-romantic era popstar performing one of his songs? The answer, when it comes, is as bonkers as the song the wavy-haired bloke is singing and, coupled with the type of catch-all final speech which should be outlawed in film-making schools across the country, both elements conspire to leave a decidedly sour aftertaste.

Before this point there is some decent comedy which showcases a lot of great British talent and writer David Baddiel gives good material to Djalili and Richard Schiff to engage in the type of buddy comedy nonsense which rarely fails to entertain. The big-name British support is mainly provided by Archie Panjabi, Miranda Hart and Matt Lucas who all show that, when given the chance, they can step up to feature films with little problem, Lucas in particular a very welcome presence whenever his awkward Rabbi appears.

But Baddiel's script leaves so much to be desired in the plot department that the comedy asides are rendered fairly pointless. It's fine to have a laugh every so often at a visual joke or clever bit of comedy (Mahmud inadvertently revealing his skull cap is a highlight) but if there's not a satisfying narrative to wrap it all in to then what you end up with is basically a mildly diverting stand-up with several attached, inconvenient, subplots. With or without this level of talent involved, this is a huge disappointment.

Look further...

'Far from perfect, it sometimes takes its concept too far... not a very even handed assessment of the two cultures' - Slacker Cinema, 3/5

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