El Feel Fel Mandeel: Unoriginal Spy Comedy
The story of this latest Egyptian comedy
revolves around Saeed (Zakaria), an ambitious fruit seller who wants to be much more, and dreams of being part of the country’s secret service. Saeed’s prayers are answered when he is
in fact recruited to be a spy, unbeknownst to him that he is just a decoy to
draw attention from a real mission.
As a fake spy, he is charged with looking for a
person named John Dark, while the real spy is on his mission to find and
retrieve a chip that contains nuclear war secrets, and threatens national security.
El Feel Fel
Mandeel is another in the long line of comedy films starring Zakaria; and we use the term ‘comedy’
very loosely. Although he is a perpetual sidekick character, Tabakh El Rayes seemingly
propelled Zakaria into a leading man.
itself is predictable, boring, and overdone. This is not the first time, and we fear not
the last time either, that the concept of mistaken identity has been used to absurd
slapstick effect in an Egyptian comedy film.
It’s actually difficult to
judge whether the poor performances are down to the lacklustre efforts of the
actors or the clichéd script. Films like
these rely on one thing; humour, and nothing more. Unfortunately, El Feel Fel Mandeel features
few comic scenarios to build from, and the slapstick jokes are insultingly cheesy.
Parts of it
even border on being tasteless, particularly a scene when Saeed is taking a
lie-detector test. He is asked whether he hates Egypt’s former president, to
which he answers with a firm and resolute ‘Yes’. It’s a strange and completely
irrelevant addition to the script, and we wonder if the film’s makers thought
this would cause audiences to break into rapturous applause and cheers. Or it could of course have been Zakaria’s own input, after receiving so much criticism for what has been perceived as ‘anti-revolution’ comments.
problem with this film is the fact that Zakaria can’t carry the story as the
lead. He has gained his reputation through his bit-part appearances in comedy
films and television soap operas, as well as his comic moustache and haircut.
Add to this the poor script and inane storyline, and you have an exasperating excuse
of a film.