Arts & Culture » Theater Critic's Choice

Where's the Party, Yaar?

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Say what you like about the United States--I'm proud to live in a country where ethnic tension produces offbeat comedies instead of mass graves. This feature by Benny Mathews is Indo-America's entry in the "Big Fat Wedding" sweepstakes, but instead of broad swipes at colorful immigrants and bland WASPs it offers some surprisingly pungent satire of Americanized "Desis" and their industrious efforts to distance themselves from their homeland. A sunny but hopelessly dorky Indian student (Sunil Malhotra) arrives in Houston, moves in with his aunt and uncle, and immediately becomes a social drag on his hip, materialistic cousin (Kal Penn, who's hilarious). Their conflicting agendas generate most of the laughs, but the comic juice tends to spill out in all directions--in one of my favorite scenes a woman protests, "This isn't some Hindi movie!" and just to prove her wrong, the skies cut loose with a torrential rainstorm. 110 min. River East 21.

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