East is East

Rated 2.0 A Pakistani living in England (Om Puri) tries to impose the old country’s ways on his seven kids, who consider themselves more English than Pakistani. Ayub Khan-Din’s script is intended to be a culture-clash working-class comedy, but the fact is that this father is a mean, abusive S.O.B. in any culture. Director Damien O’Donnell never resolves the conflict of styles in the performances—Puri acts with high drama, as if he’s playing King Lear, while his family (led by Linda Bassett as his English wife) seems to have wandered into the film from some kitchen-sink BBC sitcom. The father’s cruelty makes the comedy stick in the craw, while the oafish gags undercut the drama of a family in conflict. The oh-well-what-can-you-do ending may be meant as reconciliation, but it feels more like a cop-out.