4 February 2018 | kaptenvideo-89875
Musical movie, where West meets India. How origi(yawn)...
A musical about westerner discovering the joys of life in India, what a great idea, eh? Who thinks of such an original thing?
A promising young scientist (Alison Brie) is plucked out of the company lab and sent to India to sell the genetically modified rice she created - which she doesn't realize will destroy the farmers she thinks she's helping.
Also starring, Saahil Sehgal, Utkarsh Ambudkar, Scott Bakula, Donald Sutherland, Tyne Daly et al.
I don't dig musicals, so if you kinda like them, you can stop reading this and just assume that "Basmati Blues" has enough good **** to warrant at least one viewing.
Still here? Good, because my rant is only starting.
Honestly, why are the musical movies so popular? Many of them are so conventional that the cliches and generic approaches could strangle us if they had hands.
And don't even get me started on the acting and quality of storytelling - compared to the "usual" movies, they seem just artificial, or stupid at worst.
The only exceptions that I know of seen are HBO's series "Flight of the Conchords" and, maybe, "South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut" and "Team America". Many would not even call them musicals.
One could argue that there's some freshness to be found in "Basmati Blues" because although it is a musical movie AND takes place in India, they have not maybe used all the most common cliches that immediately spring to mind. There are even some scenes that felt original and unexpected, including "violence is
There's a chance that you can't predict every single event and turn that the story offers. Sadly it still does not save the result of being lazily written and lacking in charm or authentic humour overall.
I know your next question. Why did I watch it in the first place, if I find musicals boring? Well, it happens to star Alison Brie who's one of the best young-ish actresses around, and I was intrigued by the idea of watching her sing and dance or something.
She can certainly sing, and has memorised the dance moves adequately if not captivatingly, but I am sad to conclude that this must be her weakest performance on screen that I know of. And I've seen almost all of her movies since the breakthrough role in "United States of Tara" series.
The problem is not only with her boring character - because let's face it, boring, one-note characters are gold standards in musical movies anyway.
It's that Larson is not really into the material, although it must have probably felt like a cool project and nice break from the usual.
But one can tell from the very first scene that she's not 'feeling' it, although she does her best to 'grow' into it, and the performance does get more relaxed and natural later.
Also, she tends to "act" too much at times, which I have never witnessed before, but let's be generous and assume that it's a stylistical choice because "Basmati Blues" is a conventional musical after all.
The last nail in the coffin is the lack of chemistry with Utkarsh Ambudkar playing Larson's character's love interest. There's some friendly energy going between them, but there's no way I'd buy something more happening between these two.
Also, the screenplay is remarkably lazy on explaining how the attraction starts and develops - weak even for a musical.
I hope that I will get to see Brie Larson in interesting projects again soon. She's gonna start appearing as Captain Marvel in superhero movies pretty soon, so there may be not much time for her to do something respecting her acting talent in the near future...
I also hope that Aziz Ansari's sometimes-near-genius Netflix series "Master of None" will have a slow but sure impact on wiping away the cliched approach that the mainstream western movies rely on portraying Indians. I mean, haven't we had enough of those, really?
"Basmati Blues" feels like an overlong, 106 minute mediocre sitcom pilot: it has some moments, but one can easily get by without it.