Thirtysomething Alim (Jimi Mistry) might be a bit too old to play with imaginary friends, let alone dead film legends, but he does. As befits a film set photographer with an Old Hollywood fetish, Alim hangs out with the ghost of Cary Grant (an embalmed Kyle MacLachlan), who constantly quotes his own movie dialogue, gossips about his defunct co-stars, and freely dispenses two types of unsolicited advice: sartorial and bad. Not so much a role model—as Play It Again, Sam‘s Humphrey Bogart was to Woody Allen—Grant keeps popping up at the most inopportune moments to tell Alim how to run his life, not unlike Alim’s melodramatic, meddlesome mother (Suleka Mathew). On the eve of her nephew’s three-day wedding spectacular, Mom drops in on the closeted Alim, who shares a London flat with his non-imaginary infidel boyfriend (Kristen Holden-Ried). Pressed into damage control, Grant convinces Alim to pass the lover off as a roommate, and to conjure up a pretend fiancée.
Granted, if you have to have a celebrity-ghost gimmick, you could do worse than Cary: Just imagine all the screwball possibilities—they’re squandered here. Presumably writer-director Ian Iqbal Rashid chose Grant because Bogie’s been done, but that didn’t stop him from lifting Touch of Pink‘s plot wholesale from The Wedding Banquet, only replacing the Chinese American family with Ismaili Muslim Torontonians (Pakistanis by way of Kenya and London). Just as well. As the real Grant used to say, “I improve on misquotation.”
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on July 6, 2004