Film

Cross-Culture Weed Comedy ‘Dough’ Suggests Pot Might Soothe Middle Eastern Tensions

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There’s an old comedy trick where a writer throws two polar opposites into an enclosed space and watches the sparks fly. It’s called Neil Simoning, and it’s the only trick Chuck Lorre ever learned.

So far, nobody’s tried Neil Simoning the conflict between Israel and the Muslim world, but if director John Goldschmidt’s Dough is any indication, it would transform Palestine into a mirthful, edgeless dramedy.

Nat, an elderly Jewish baker (venerable old Jonathan Pryce), is forced by circumstance to hire Ayyash, a Muslim teenager (the charismatic Jerome Holder), to work in his shop. They’re so mismatched! To make these opposites even more polar, the old guy is from London and the kid is an African immigrant. The baker is a devout family man; the kid is trying to break into the London drug-dealing scene. Nat’s a father without a son; Ayyash is the other way. When Nat is rolling out of bed at 4 a.m., Ayyash is running pantsless from a nightclub.

To build a clientele for his marijuana enterprise, Ayyash starts baking weed directly into the bagels, unbeknownst to Nat (who, as a professional baker, would presumably observe that this is not even how marijuana edibles are actually produced). It’s strange that a film that includes racial tensions, an entire family’s accidental ingestion of weed, and an actual joke about the Protocols of the Elders of Zion could be as broad and innocuous as Dough, though.

Dough

Directed by John Goldschmidt

Menemsha Films

Opens April 29, Village East Cinema