Thanks to a distracting conceit that shatters whatever spell the hackneyed premise might cast, you may understandably give up on Ian Iqbal Rashid's feature debut long before things get interesting. Countless gay-themed comedies have proceeded from the same set-up: A traditional parent who doesn't know his or her child is gay comes for a visit, prompting the son or daughter to go to extraordinary and, hopefully, comical lengths to hide his or her true identity. Toronto-raised set photographer Alim (Jimi Mistry) was born in Kenya (his Muslim family originally hails from Pakistan) but now lives in London with his lover, Gilles (Kristen Holden-Ried). Alim left Canada in order to hide his sexuality from his domineering, widowed mother, Nuru (the striking Suleka Mathew), who wants nothing more than to impress her Ismaili friends with news about Alim. A lucrative job would be nice; a rich wife would be even better. Nuru has spent the past few months watching her showy, upwardly mobile sister, Dolly (Veena Sood), plan her son Khaled's (Raoul Bhaneja) extravagant wedding. Determined to prod Alim into making a similarly impressive match, Nuru packs her bags and flies to London. Panicked, Alim quickly de-gayifies his flat, hiding dead giveaways like the book "Perk Up Your Pecs" and that framed black-and-white nude of Gilles. Luckily, Nuru is too busy unfavorably comparing Alim to Khaled to notice any gaffes, but the deception strains Alim's relationship with Gilles, who doesn't like being back in the closet. This is fairly formulaic stuff that incorporates cliches from both gay romances and comedies that pit tradition-minded immigrant parents against their more assimilated children. But there's a twist: Alim has an imaginary friend who's invisible to everyone but Alim and the audience, and that friend is none other than Cary Grant (Kyle MacLachlan). Ever since Alim was a child, he's been infatuated with Grant, Hollywood icon of all things stylish, suave and just a little bit gay. This delusion has followed Alim into adulthood, dispensing bad advice that might have worked for Randolph Scott but has no bearing on 21st-century gay life. Once Nuru learns the truth about Alim and Gilles, the movie actually enters some interesting territory. But Grant's sudden appearances are jarring, and while the strong-chinned MacLachlan certainly looks the part — an illusion greatly boosted by Joyce Schure's spot-on costume design — his performance never really transcends impersonation. Rich Little would be impressed.
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- Released: 2004
- Rating: R
- Review: Thanks to a distracting conceit that shatters whatever spell the hackneyed premise might cast, you may understandably give up on Ian Iqbal Rashid's feature debut long before things get interesting. Countless gay-themed comedies have proceeded from the same… (more)