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.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on April 20, 2011