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Ana Badi'a Ya Wadi'a: Lame Attempt at Comedy
Following the popular Melody Aflam ad campaign that resonated with audiences across Egypt for its hilarious catchphrases and spoofs of cult classic films, comes Ana Badi’a Ya Wadi’a.
Produced by Melody Aflam, the film revolves around a big-hit producer, Tohamy (Kandeel), who is known in the film industry as a B-movie producer that doesn’t seem to care about his actresses actually acting as long as they’re voluptuous and seductive. His assistant Wadi’a (Abed) is his right-hand man. Their main source of income is Lamita (as herself), an actress that couldn't care less about the final cut as long as she's getting paid by Tohamy, who is also her fiancé.
Due to his reputation for making cheap films, Tohamy has a hard time finding people to work with him; the bills pile up, he’s close to bankruptcy and eventually Lamita leaves him.
Tohamy and Wadi’a have no other choice but to search for famous actors to sign onto their upcoming film in order to improve their business and reputation. They come up with a brilliant scheme of producing a low-budget film to avoid the incoming tax charges and make profit out of it.
If this plot sounds familiar to you, it’s because it is inspired by The Producers, a 1968 comedy that was remade in 2005. Ana Badi’a Ya Wadi’a makes no secret of its influence; in fact, Wadi’a cites The Producers as the inspiration for their scheme to get out of their financial troubles, so this can’t really be held against the filmmakers.
Apart from the plot, the script of Ana Badi’a Ya Wadi’a comes across as cheap, crass and full of unsubtle and dirty jokes. If you’ve seen the ad campaign, you would expect the film to be just as vulgar and funny as the commercials. Sadly, the film is vulgar but just not funny enough, which is perhaps due to the poor direction. Tohamy and Wadi'a’s dialogues are supposed to be funny, yet they barely drew smiles from the audiences. For every funny joke that they successfully crack, ten other lame lines follow.
There is no acting in this film: Kandeel as Tohamy is neither talented nor funny; the only reason he's in here is because he played the original character in the commercials. Abed as Wadi’a fares just as badly; he’s nowhere near as funny as he was during the brief commercials. Kandeel also plays Tohamy's elderly mother, which might be his only decent performance in the film. Lamita’s role exists purely for her physical appearance; nothing more, nothing less.
Overall, this feature film is a real shame to Egyptian cinema. Ana Badi’a Ya Wadi’a is like the rejected script that never made it to TV; how it got made into a film for this Eid season is beyond us. If anything, it proves that a joke can’t be stretched into a whole film and a commercial actor can't neccessarily handle the huge responsibility of a major film production.
On the surface, Robert Zemecki’s slick and a technically pristine WWII-set romantic-espionage-thriller looks like a winner. Boasting an impressive cast and a script by Peaky Blinders’ Steven Knight, everything about Allied points to success. However, although visually striking and overall satisfying in terms of action, it’s the film’s central story - the romantic pairing between Mr. Pitt and Ms. Cotillard – fails to ever really get going, leaving the film a little hollow and difficult to invest in.
Set in 1942, the story begins with the introduction of Canadian intelligence officer, Max Vatan (Pitt), who finds himself on a mission in Morocco with French Resistance fighter, Marianne Beausejour (Cotillard), who is to play the role of his wife during a covert operation that involves assassinating a high-ranking Nazi official. After successfully carrying out their assignment, the pair’s pretend relationship soon turns into the real thing with the duo soon marrying and welcoming a baby girl into the world, as they settle in war-torn Britain.
However, things are soon turned upside down for Max when he is informed by his by-the-books boss, Frank Heslop (Mad Men’s Jared Harris), that Marianne is currently under investigation and that she, in fact, may be a Nazi spy. Given seventy-two hours to prove her innocence before he will need to kill her, Max soon sets out on his own investigation.
Aesthetically, the film embraces an old-Hollywood approach, with a certain sense of nostalgic glamour and elegance present through the minutes. Told through a wonderfully slick lens frequent Zemeckis collaborator, cinematographer Don Burgess, there's a certain style and sophistication to every single frame. But while the film is pleasing to the eye and Steven Knight’s script boasts plenty of moments of suspense and intrigue, there‘s a serious lack of heart missing from the story, which turns the more passionate moments into melodrama.
In addition, the romance between the two leads is never really sold. Both Pitt and Cotillard definitely look the part and when they are not onscreen together, their performances are affective. However, it’s when they share the screen and viewers are asked to buy into their love story that it all goes south. Allied is a functional and an effective WWII spy thriller. It’s just not as captivating or engaging of a romance-drama that it sells itself to be.
Ludicrous, crass but also undeniably fun,Ted 2 - the sequel to Seth MacFarlane’s successful 2012 comedy, Ted –proves to be a more consistent and better drawn-out affair than its predecessor, even if the jokes – which there never seems to be a shortage of– don’t always land where they’re supposed to.
Picking up shortly after the events of the first film, Ted 2 is once again centred on best-buds and avid stoners, John Bennett (Wahlberg) and his talking teddy bear, Ted (voiced by MacFarlane) who, as it turns out, don’t seem to be living out their happily-ever-afters with the women in their lives. See, John has divorced the love-of-his-life, Lori (Kunis), and Ted, who at the beginning of the film shares his “I Do’s” with his human-bride, Tami-Lynn (Barth), is in constant clashes with his new wife.
Deciding that the best way to reconcile and put an end to all the bickering is to start a family, Ted reaches out to his best-friend for help; a decision which soon proves rather messy. However, Ted’s civil rights are soon called in to question by the government who wish to brand Ted as property as oppose to a living thing, leaving John and Ted with no choice but to turn to the rookie – and pot-loving- lawyer, Samantha (Seyfried) for some legal help in an attempt to prove that Ted is a living being with rights of his own. Hence the tagline ‘Legalise Ted’.
Endless pop-culture references and MacFarlane’s distinct brand of abstract toilet humour is once again the integral part of the story. While the first film lent most of its focus on Wahlberg and his romance with Mila Kunis – the actress was written out of the script due to her pregnancy with husband Ashton Kutcher – Ted 2 shifts the focus onto the talking teddy and his battle to be recognised, essentially, as a human.
The decision to shift proves to be a smart move, although the film does tend to take itself a little too seriously at times; in addition, Wahlberg – whose deadpan delivery is almost always spot on – seems to shine more in his secondary role.
Ted 2 is neither ambitious nor smart and its jokes are often offensive and pretty vulgar. Nevertheless, it’s a fun goofy kind of vulgarity that will ensure more box office success and probably even a third film.