Sammy and Rosie Get Laid | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Sammy and Rosie Get Laid


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This comes from the same director (Stephen Frears), writer (Hanif Kureishi), and producers (Tim Bevan and Sarah Radclyffe) who gave us My Beautiful Laundrette, and roughly speaking, this lively film about social and political turmoil in Thatcher England bears the same relationship to that earlier film as Richard Pryor Live on the Sunset Strip had to Richard Pryor Live in Concert. That is, a spontaneous gathering of forces whose energies and inspirations hit a raw nerve is succeeded by a more deliberate and self-conscious effort to bring the same powers into play. In this case, the return of corrupt, old-fashioned Rafi (Shashi Kapoor) to London to visit his son Sammy (Ayub Khan Din) and daughter-in-law Rosie (Frances Barber) reveals to him the cataclysmic changes the country has been undergoing--race riots, sexual warfare, and political upheavals--and he never quite recovers from the shock, even after he goes to see his old girlfriend Alice (Claire Bloom). When Sammy throws a dinner party for Rafi, he remarks to Rosie, "We'll round up the usual social deviants, Communists, lesbians, and blacks, with a sprinkling of the mentally subnormal," and the rather stylized landscape of interracial couples, bombed-out streets, and multisexual adventurers goes beyond the relative naturalism of My Beautiful Laundrette to create a world more akin in some ways to the scene of 50s turmoil in the underrated Absolute Beginners. Recklessly biting off more than they can possibly chew, the filmmakers still give us a memorable apocalyptic view of 1987 England. With Wendy Gazelle and Roland Gift (of the musical group the Fine Young Cannibals). (Fine Arts)

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