Transposing age-old show-biz stereotypes onto an ethnic minority--the Pakistanis of London--helps season this well-intentioned comedy with some spice but not much dramatic bite. With its Three Stooges slapstick interrupting cross-generational clashes and social-class skirmishes, one gets
the feeling THE WILD WEST is being guided by an uncertain, immature hand.
Scrounging up a living working for their well-established emigre uncles, Pakistanis Zaf (Naveen Andrews), his brothers Kay (Ronny Jhutti) and Ali (Ravi Kapoor), and their cousin Gurdeep (Ameet Chana), spend their spare time rehearsing their country and western band. Besides contending with limited
playdates, the band also fends off English punkers dissatisfied with Ali's questionable car mechanic/auto sales acumen. When not embattled, the quartet follows their manager Jagdeep (Bhasker) to showcases for exposure. At a performance when a lout named Tony (Shaun Scott) abuses his Pakistani wife
Rifat (Sarita Choudhury), Zaf intervenes and is soon smitten by the beautiful Rifat whom he invites to be the band's lead singer.
Cajoled by his conservative mom (Lalita Ahmed) into accepting a job with his uncle the butcher, Zaf keeps messing up conventional employment opportunities, particularly after Rifat exits her unhappy wedlock. After Zaf hides her at his place, his mother forces her son's hand by selling their home
in order to return to the old country. When a record company expresses interest in promoting Rifat as a solo act, the crestfallen musicians pool their house-sale funds and fly to Nashville for a stab at Grand Old Opry stardom. Unaware that their young Pakistani enemies have vamoosed, the
neighborhood riffraff blows up the property that now belongs to Zaf's grasping Uncle Abdul (Madhav Sharma).
THE WILD WEST zips along with puppy-dog verve, sort of like FAME if the Performing Arts high school had a branch in Karachi. Unfortunately, the show-biz hard knocks clichés assume more prominence than the intriguing background of dissension between the English hoods and the London-born Pakistani
outsiders. The boys' disenfranchisement never pushes the Let's-Put-On-A-Show conventions offstage. Due to a number of broad strokes in the screenplay, the film's execution has a cartoonish feel, as if the creative personnel considered technique secondary.
When the starstruck dust settles, THE WILD WEST can still be enjoyed for its exuberant cast, its delusional belief that hard work will bring automatic success, and its humorous take on Pakistanis' difficulties with the Caucasian majority in England. The rhinestone buckaroos are leaving their real
Dodge City behind in England; battling the narrow-minded country western music establishment may seem like a breeze in comparison with London's snobbish social frontiers.(Violence, sexual situations, extreme profanity.)
Cast & Details See all »
- Released: 1993
- Rating: R
- Review: Transposing age-old show-biz stereotypes onto an ethnic minority--the Pakistanis of London--helps season this well-intentioned comedy with some spice but not much dramatic bite. With its Three Stooges slapstick interrupting cross-generational clashes and s… (more)