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Finding Fatimah


Stars: Danny Ashok, Asmara Gabrielle, Waham Sheikh, Nina Wadia, Ewen MacIntosh, Dave Spikey, Guz Khan, Denise Welch

Director: Oz Arshad

This 'romantic comedy' could set Muslim cinema back years. The wildly exaggerated acting would embarrass a TV sitcom (not to mention the inept direction), as we follow the fortunes of Shahid Akhtar (Ashok), a diminutive Mancunian of Bangladeshi heritage who lives with his mother and sister and, rapidly approaching 30, searches for online lovers, encountering only an appalling series of posturing prospects.

Shahid's big secret is that he's divorced, something he dare not reveal. He's also a stand-up comedian - though he never seems to tell any jokes - who enters a TV show called Muslims Got Talent although, from the glimpses of the acts we see, it's not very much.

Then, although off 'local girls with the community influence and riff-raff minds' (what does this even mean?), he falls for a single doctor, Fatimah (Gabrielle), also 30; but she is of Pakistani origins, and the path of Muslim true love, like most others, does not run smooth.

The film is just all over the placer - almost every scene an embarrassment... Added to which: those accents! Shahid's mother and sister have Lancashire brogues, while he does not, and Fatimah, supposedly a university-educated Mancunian, speaks like an EastEnder and drops her 't's. The fact that she's known to her friends as Fatty could perhaps also have been avoided.

As, if you're wise, could be this film. Even the one decent line is stolen from Jerry Maguire 'It's excruciating,' says a character at one stage. And they're right.

David Quinlan

UK 2017. UK Distributor: Icon. Colour (unspecified).
98 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: PG.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 17 Apr 2017