I Can't Think Straight

"Weak"

I Can't Think Straight Review


A decent plot and strong characters can't quite overcome the limitations of this low-budget film, mainly because the director struggles to inject much energy or spark into the story. Which is frustrating for a premise with this much potential.

In Amman, Tala (Ray) constantly breaks off engagements, to the consternation of her Christian parents. The latest wedding looks like it's going ahead, but during a trip to London, Tala visits a pal (Kempton) who's dating a Muslim Indian, Leyla (Sheth). Sparks ignite between the women, who both know there's no way they can pursue a romance due to the demands of their home cultures.

Even so, Leyla decides she has to be true to herself, but Tala believes she needs to follow through with her marriage in Jordan.

The film strikes a breezy rom-com tone, so it's fairly clear where everyone will end up, even though the plot cleverly twists and turns the situations. It helps that the characters are vivid and detailed, even if personalities are painted in broad brush strokes. Most characters are thoroughly likeable, and the combinations of ethnicity, religion and sexuality provide plenty of material for the filmmakers and the cast members to work with.

So it's extremely frustrating that it never gets beneath the surface. The direction stiffly focuses on lame comedy shtick (a corny subplot about Wadia's snide housekeeper is particularly weak). There are a few good lines ("But some of my best friends are Lebanese!"), but most of it is played too broadly to resonate. And sexuality and racial issues are shown in extremely obvious ways.

Underneath this, the script raises some seriously strong issues, examining the tension between acceptability and happiness.

Essentially, this is one of those films that feels like it was made too quickly. The screenplay needed at least two more drafts to fix the dodgy plotting and, more importantly, to eliminate the stereotypes. This under-development leaves the plot with little pacing or momentum, even though we do root for Leyla and Tala to deal with their personal issues and live happily every after. It's just about engaging enough, but it should have been much, much better.



I Can't Think Straight

Facts and Figures

Run time: 82 mins

In Theaters: Saturday 1st November 2008

Distributed by: Regent Releasing/here! Films

Production compaines: Enlightenment Productions

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 16%
Fresh: 5 Rotten: 27

IMDB: 6.7 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Shamim Sarif

Producer: Hanan Kattan

Starring: as Tala, as Leyla, Antonia Frering as Reema, Dalip Tahil as Omar, as Housekeeper, Ernest Ignatius as Sam, Siddiqua Akhtar as Maya, as Yasmin, Anya Lahiri as Lamia, Kimberly Jaraj as Zina, Sam Vincenti as Kareem, Rez Kempton as Ali, as Hani (as Daud Shah), George Tardios as Uncle Ramzi, Ishwar Maharaj as Sami, Gabrielle Amies as Aunty Ramzi, Jessica Allsop as Jennifer

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