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When Harry Tries to Marry, Rom-Com Formula Gets in the Way

A bright, colorful slab of faux-multiculturalism, When Harry Tries to Marry is a substandard romantic comedy gussied up in Indian drag. Harry (real name: Harish) is soon to graduate from Pace University in New York, which has him in panic mode. In his over-mapped life, he is slotted to marry immediately following graduation. The only hitch: There’s no woman in his life. Rationalizing that his parents’ “love” marriage ended in divorce, he embraces the tradition of arranged marriage and turns to an uncle in India to set everything up. The glitch: The female fellow student with whom Harry has a rocky initial meeting slowly turns into an object of affection. Will Harry pick the nice Indian girl chosen for him, or the feisty white American? As directed by Nayan Padrai, from a script co-written with Ralph Stein, the film’s one real strength is that it stokes some actual tension around that question. Otherwise, the witless script and one-note characters are dutifully put through predictable paces, sans any real psychological layers or artistic nuance. Rahul Rai, as Harry, is easy on the eyes but merely competent as an actor, and does nothing (not that there’s much he could do) to elevate the script from its formulaic stab at crossover box-office appeal.

 
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3 comments
Nycjane36
Nycjane36

It's a rom-com so of course there will be a rom-com formula. Anyway, the reviewer is off-base and expecting The King's Speech or something ridiculous.

I really liked this movie. It deals with cross-cultural issues of arranged marriages and being Orthodox Jewish, I could relate to it (as did my husband). Check it out when it goes on Netflix or VOD. It's a feel good movie and the soundtrack is quite nice.

Alan
Alan

So we should what, Ernest, keep choking on the regurgitated remakes of "Arthur" and more comic book films? The beauty of all these small, sweet entertaining Indie films are that they aren't formulaic and are different, which is why Indie films keep winning Oscar after Oscar and big budget Hollywood films don't. But this film doesn't try to be another "King's Speech." It's just there to entertain you and make you walk out of the theater with a smile on your face, not to mention that it has the best soundtrack of any (bar none) film out there today.

Josie
Josie

I mean, sure, being "formulaic" is the criticism that gets hurled at all romantic comedies. It's such a disrespected genre! And, I mean, don't get me wrong, there IS a lot of bad movie-making in the genre, I'm not disputing that. But it's gotten to the point where calling a romantic comedy "cliche" in a review is cliche in itself, LOL. Anyway, I think this movie looks cute - I've seen the trailer, so the review caught my eye. I'll see the film!

 

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