Friday, February 04, 2005

and when it fails to recoup, well, maybe, you just haven't earned it yet, baby

I wanted to rail against Sideways, but I've got much bigger fish to fry now. It should be noted that I walked into last night's sneak preview screening of Bride & Prejudice with tempered expectations, actually, no, low expectations. It should also be noted that I walked out of the screening disappointed that I lost two hours of my life that I can never get back.

Chadha is completely out of her element. In order to send up a genre, you have to really understand it. Also, you can't have everything- you can't send up Bollywood, try to adapt a Jane Austen novel, and try to create a storyline that's supposed to be heartfelt all in one film. And sorry, being amused by Nitin Ganatra doesn't cut it for comic relief (no fault of his, his character was the only thing worth watching most of the time).

Major problems, in no particular order:
  • First fifteen minutes of the film, we have our first supposedly filmi number, and it's like a watered down version of the West Side Story Cool dance-fight.
  • In those same first fifteen minutes, we have an introduction to what will become the biggest problem with this film- the lamest dialogue ever. Narration fairies are flittering throughout the first fifteen minutes, and it sucks.
  • Like Martin bloody Henderson would be meh about Aishwarya Rai. Suuurrre.
  • You know what would have been nice? If the Indian from the UK, my boy Naveen Andrews, had been the disaffected-what is this bloody spectacle I'm witnessing character instead of Martin Henderson. See Monsoon Wedding's out-of-his-element Australian dude.
  • Incidentally, why do you put my boy Naveen Andrews in a film like this, and give him absolutely nothing to do?!?
  • Aishwarya Rai is so horribly cast here. First of all, if you want to take the Austen adaptation angle, Rai is no Elizabeth Bennett, no way. Bennett's supposed to be willful and quick-witted with a razor-sharp tongue. Rai cannot pull this off in a million years, and the screenplay doesn't help her here at all. Secondly, the audience is supposed to believe that Martin Henderson's character would believe Rai is not good enough for him. WTF??? You can't cast the Most Beautiful Woman in the World, and then expect us to believe she's a spinster with few prospects simply because she's not from the best family in the world. Also, if the best that Rai can do is bag Henderson, I'm hanging it up right now, because there is no HOPE in this world for the rest of us in that case.
  • The screenplay is at odds with itself. First, it rails against Martin Henderson's character for his perception of India as exotic or traditional or other. Then, the movie completely exoticizes Rai's character. First, Rai's character doesn't care about money, then the movie lingers on Rai & Henderson getting on a helicopter. WTF #6,378?!?
  • Don't sing in English, for the love of all that is good and decent in this world?!?! Especially such awful songs. If you're going to do a musical, then your music had better be tight, and this crap is not cutting it. At. All. Throwing Ashanti in ain't helping anything, either.
  • When trying to convince me that Aishwarya Rai is a justifiable actress, it's helpful to not have her eyes red before she actually receives bad news/cries.
  • Anupam Kher, what are you doing in this nonsense? Did you sign a 2-picture deal with Chadha when you made Beckham?
  • This film makes me love the last Bollywood film I saw. And the Lucky in that movie was much fuglier and stupid than the Lucky in this one. What does that tell you?
Uggh... it's exhausting to dislike something so much. And if you loved it, and you read this, I apologize for the vitriol (except not really, because I still think it stinks). I'm going to have to wash this down with Born into Brothels followed by a chaser of Mos Def (YES... I just got tickets yesterday). Actually, I'm going to wash this down with the real thing, because it's coming on Mardi Gras, after all.

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