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.