Saturday, 28 May 2016

BITE-SIZE REVIEW: Peace After Marriage (2013)

I saw a trailer for this a few years ago, but it never came out down here. It's a small move that did the festival circuit for a while, so I was hopeful it would turn up, but no dice. Thanks to the magic of the Internet, I finally got around to seeing it.

A Palestinian-American man, Arafat (Ghazi Albuliwi) is looking for love. Stuck at home with his parents, he is a struggling comedian and actor. Desperate for cash and a chance to escape his parents, he gets into an arranged marriage to help a young woman get her Green Card. 

The only catch is she's Israeli. 

The basic plot is fairly familiar. Two opposites are brought together by contrivance, clash and then eventually...

First things first: This movie is very, very funny. 

Albuliwi has a great way with one-liners, and is a warm, affable lead. The film boasts some great set pieces poking fun at the cultural divide between Arafat and his new bride Miki (Einat Tubi): 

Particular highlights for me included: 

  • Arafat's attempt to dispose of his porn collection is foiled by cops who think an Arab with a suitcase is suspicious
  • the interfaith ceremony is a disaster, with the rabbi and Iman officiants just shouting over each other.

Peace After Marriage is a very New York movie. It's hard to imagine a comedy like this working anywhere else. The backdrop also can't help but recall the work of Woody Allen. Albuliwi (who also wrote and co-directed with Bandar Albuliwi) has been working as a stand-up comedian since he was 17, and has a neurotic, nervy energy that is very reminiscent of Annie Hall-era Allen.

Final verdict: Peace After Marriage is a fun movie. It's a little ragged around the edges and the plotting is a little cookie cutter, but it's a warm, funny little comedy which, however unintentionally, acts as the perfect rebuke to the paranoia and cartoon distinctions of these Trumpified times.

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