Francesca Rudkin is an entertainment reviewer for NZ Herald.

Movie review: It's a Wonderful Afterlife

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Rating: 2/5
Verdict: Too much homage, too few laughs.

Mrs Sethi (second right) with her daughter Roopi (right) and other ghostly companions. Photo / Supplied
Mrs Sethi (second right) with her daughter Roopi (right) and other ghostly companions. Photo / Supplied

From the director of Bend It Like Beckham and Bride and Prejudice comes this black comedy, featuring a clunky mish-mash of genres that fails to gel.

Inspired by cult horror film Carrie and the post 1940s Ealing studio comedies, It's a Wonderful Afterlife attempts to be cultural comedy, love story and crime thriller spoof - a serial killer is murdering blokes with explosive curries and other Asian culinary weapons.

The deaths may have something to do with the unassuming Mrs Sethi (Shabana Azmi), a widow living in London, who is aggrieved that her moustached, frumpy, daughter Roopi (Goldy Notay) has been unable to find a husband. She uses her culinary skills to take revenge on those who have humiliated her daughter. Only she's soon being haunted by the spirits of the dead. At first she is desperate to be rid of these ghosts, but soon they're all playing a part in finding a suitor for Roopi, who finds herself under suspicion. This complicates her new romance with Detective Sergeant Murthy (Sendhil Ramamurthy from TV's Heroes) who is investigating the case.

It's a Wonderful Afterlife pokes plenty of gentle fun at reincarnation and the Asian community in England, but mostly it sends up the traditional customs around women and arranged marriages. Little of it is laugh-out-loud funny, its clunky script of fat jokes, and cliched characters are dated, and the combination of action and characters is quite mad.

Cast: Goldy Notay, Shabana Azmi, Sendhil Ramamurthy, Sally Hawkins
Director: Gurindha Chadha
Running time: 100 mins
Rating: M (contains drug use)

- TimeOut

- NZ Herald

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