VIJAY AND I is a risible and borderline offensive farce in which a disillusioned actor (Moritz Bleibtrau) exploits the mistaken announcement of his death to see what his family and friends really think about him. With the help of his north Indian friend (Danny Pudi - COMMUNITY), the actor browns-up, gets a beard and a turban and starts to court his apparently grieving wife (Patricia Arquette). Clearly, it's absurd to think that a woman could sleep with a man and, despite some waxing, not realise it's her husband. But we have to give any kind of farce the benefit of the doubt, as we would with TOOTSIE or MRS DOUBTFIRE. No, where this film fails is in its lack of real laughs and lack of real insight. Both those films saw genuine emotion in their relationships and proper guilt-ridden conflicts. By contrast, "Vijay" seems petulant and spoiled - quite content to cause distress in order to get more respect, and indeed pussy, as a respected Indian man than as an actor playing a children's cartoon character. The problem is that the tone is ambiguous. The directors should've gone for zanier farce or real relationship depth or something truly dark and depressing (DEATH TO SMOOCHIE style). Instead we just have something very very odd, very unfunny and at times simply wince-inducing. In fact, seeing the wonderful Patricia Arquette trying to play it straight - as though she were in a real drama - was the most painful thing of all. Avoid at all costs.
VIJAY AND I was released last year in Germany and Belgium and earlier this year in Italy and Hungary. It is available to rent and own.