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Infidel, The


Stars: Omid Djalili, Richard Schiff, Archie Panjabi, Igal Naor, Amit Shah, Soraya Radford, James Floyd

Director: Josh Appignanesi

A hard-cursing, Jew-hating Muslim (Djalili) suddenly discovers he was adopted and was born Jewish. It's a bit of a one-joke idea, but David Baddiel's script has a lot of funny moments, even if not all of them reach their potential on screen. The problem is that the absurdity of Baddiel's humour takes a few seconds to sink in, by which time the film has moved on.

Anglo-Iranian comic Djalili (the casting is a bit of a joke in itself) plays Mahmud, a blue-collar (well, blue-dhoti) guy who runs a car-hire firm, curses his Jewish neighbour (Schiff) who's always pinching his parking space, and is the cause of great worry to his wife (Panjabi) and son (Shah), who feel he will show them up at the visit of Arshad (Naor), a fire-and-brimstone preacher who happens to be the stepfather of the girl (Radford) that Mahmud's son hopes to marry.

There's also a four-year-old daughter who runs amok wielding a huge sword and crying 'Kill the unbelievers'.

This is uncomfortable comedy at best and it's difficult to decide how offensive Muslims and Jews will find it. Djalili isn't great as Mahmud and it's a bit disconcerting that his children look nothing like him. Miranda Hart (moderately funny), Matt Lucas and Paul Kaye (not funny at all) appear in cameo roles.

David Quinlan

UK/USA 2010. UK Distributor: Revollver. Colour by deluxe.
105 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 2.

Review date: 05 Apr 2010