Sunday, January 24, 2016

On DVD and Digital: Geeta and Ravi Patel's overly-performed doc, MEET THE PATELS

So f-ing adorable that you will soon be grinding your teeth, MEET THE PATELS has been properly compared to My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Both movies are so obvious that you can't miss a thing and both beat you over the head with their charm until you're ready to scream, "Uncle!" Greek was an out-and-out narrative, while Patels would appear to be a documentary, but it is also a kind of hybrid doc in which almost all the actors so love performing for the camera that you'll soon plead for them to tone it down. They never do.

As you can quickly ascertain -- from the poster, top, and the stills from the movie, above and below -- there is hardly a moment in which nor a character who is not constantly mugging for the camera. This is particularly true of the movie's ostensible "hero," Ravi Patel (who stars and co-directed with his sister, Geeta Patel, shown at right above), who at age 30 still has not found a bride-to-be. Wanting to please his Indian parents (shown mugging below), he commits to finally finding an Indian girl to marry in one of those "arranged" affairs that are said to work out better than our western-world marriages (and divorces).

Immediately prior to the movie's beginning, Ravi has broken up with his red-headed American girlfriend of two years because, we are to assume, she was not Indian enough for him and his parents. Red flag, anyone? Though the movie begins very charmingly, with its characters, as well as its premise, seeming to be fresh and original, it soon begins repeating and repeating itself until more sophisticated viewers may want to fast forward to make better use of their time.

We follow Ravi as he goes on a trip to India (above) then comes back to the USA, checks out various online dating sites, prepares his resume and exchanges same with a bunch of young women, all the while mugging himself silly.

He goes on dates, as above, discusses the matter with his friends, and in general seems like a major bonehead.  The movie is also replete with cutesy animated sequences, as below (in which even the animation can't stop mugging).

I don't think we were even halfway through this much-too-long 88-minute movie before both my spouse and I had figured out exactly what was going to happen. By the time that this finally occurred, we had long given up on the film. Interestingly enough, for a movie that one might expect to undercut those typical Indian-American stereotypes, this one simply bolsters them all. (And it makes us appreciate all the more Aziz Ansari's current Netflix series, Master of None.)

You may have more patience than we, however, and god knows Meet the Patels did get some good reviews (and was one of the movies our neighbors and best friends urged upon us). So if you've a mind to try it, it's available from Alchemy on DVD as of this coming Tuesday, January 26, after having made its VOD debut last month, and its streaming debut last week. (We caught it via Netflix's streaming facility.)

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