Saturday, March 31, 2007

Less than Engaging: The Namesake

The Namesake
Directed by Mira Nair
Released March 9, 2007

Kal Penn stars as Gogol Ganguli, the son of Indian immigrants finding his cultural and secular lives clashing as he grows up. From its start, the film never quite draws the viewer in, presenting a simplistic enough story that has been told many times before without adding anything new, and more notably, without providing anything to truly capture the viewer's interest.

Penn, an interesting casting choice after his lead role in the stoner comedy "Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle," showed some dramatic skill in his recent arc on TV's "24." Unfortunately, he brings little of that to this film. Like the movie itself, his performance is one-note and hard to get into and sympathize with. He seems disinterested in a lot of his dialogue, and only occasionally displays some real emotions. The rest of the cast is uneven at best, and their line delivery, as a friend of mine pointed out, is constantly with poor intonation and a general stiffness, the element which ultimately hurts a film which could have been something much more engaging and inventive.


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