Chutney Popcorn

An Indian-American lesbian (Nisha Ganatra) agrees to carry a child for her infertile sister and anxious brother-in-law; predictably, the laughs in this 1999 comedy come from cultural clashes (the protagonist's Indian-born mother refuses to acknowledge her daughter's homosexuality, her lesbian friends can't understand her willingness to give birth) as well as the nuts and bolts of artificial insemination. As director and cowriter, Ganatra brings to the project an insider's view and a sure handling of girl talk, but she isn't particularly good with actors (only Jill Hennessy as her statuesque girlfriend and Madhur Jaffrey as her exasperated mother stand out), and her own character is underwritten, an impassive, petulant Madonna who somehow commands adoration. It doesn't help that the film runs out of comic situations after the first hour and resorts to too many senseless montages (accompanied by the entrancing fusion sounds of Karsh Kale). 91 min.

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