Mad, Sad And Bad

Mad, Sad And Bad


Reviewed by: Scott Macdonald

Rashmi, Atul and Hardeep are three siblings whose personal lives are a mess, snapping and attacking one another at the slightest provocation. Their relationships outside of the family are slipshod at best. They reunite for their mother's (Henceforth called Mother) funeral, and in the most hackneyed example of the flashback structure I have seen in years, we return to three weeks prior where the overbearing Mother summons her children to be with her after a fall. "Call your brothers, you know how they worry!" she orders Rashmi.

Hardeep (Zubin Vara) is a sex-addict shrink - when his mother calls, he's about to have a threesome with barely legal twins. His character is clean, methodical and so far up himself it's a wonder he doesn't vanish from time and space.

Copy picture

Rashmi (Meera Syal) is a very likely depressive who has little interest in men - or women. (Her brother gives her a quick list of her physical faults: "Crap hair, crap skin, crap body"). After a disastrous blind-date set up by Mother ("I had a totally horrible time"), Rashmi gets tossed out of the parental home - and Mother henceforth decides to decorate, and drink heavily.

Atul (Nitin Ganatra) is a hopelessly neurotic and impassioned writer, growing ever more hysterical at not being taken seriously after writing his television "shit-coms", and sports delusions of writing something "new and deep". He's bored with his girlfriend, Tara, and wants to dip his wick into an attractive married family friend, Roxie. Suddenly - inspiration strikes - an opera about cheese! (Example lyrics: "A tiny bit of brie, would make me so happeeeee") Anyway, Roxie ends up worming her way onto Atul's sitcom, by charming and sleeping with the director.

It has to get better, right? Actually, no - it doesn't. Every character interacts in a stack of dramatic falsehoods and the performances reflect people I couldn't stand being in the same room with, let alone being forced to deal with 90 minutes of their selfish and boring bullshit. "These people are as real as my nose," says Roxie.

I can't understand why anyone put this film into production. The script is startlingly unfunny and lacks interesting conflict, resolution or artistry. It's as cloying and artificial as Steven Moffat's Coupling would be, if it lacked chemistry, good situation comedy and witty banter. It resorts to the most ancient of story cliches, does nothing fresh or interesting with them and blends them with neurotic, unfunny and ill-drawn characters whose choices and motivations are often highly suspect - and the women are especially poorly written. Their personalities are like listening to nails being drawn across a blackboard.

"So now you see my life, and what I had to put up with," complains the dead mother. She might be speaking for every one of this film's audience members, let alone any poor sod who writes 500 words on it.

Reviewed on: 25 Jun 2009
Share this with others on...
Comic portrait of a family in meltdown.
Amazon link

Director: Avie Luthra

Writer: Avie Luthra

Starring: Meera Syal, Nitin Ganatra, Zubin Varla, Andrea Riseborough, Lenna Dhingra

Year: 2009

Runtime: 90 minutes

Country: UK


EIFF 2009

Search database: