West is West is the sequel to the hugely successful 1999 film East is East, about a Pakistani man, George played by Om Puri, who runs a chip shop in Salford in the early 70s.
George?s second wife, Ella played by Linda Bassett, is English and he spends much of his time grappling with the complicated identity politics of his seven children.
In West is West, George travels back home to Pakistan with his youngest son, Sajid played by Aquib Khan. George wants to teach the unruly teenager about his roots but soon George realizes that you can never go home again.
East is East had strong characters, real laughs and a big heart. In comparison, West is West is oddly diminished.
The Pakistani countryside where there is no electricity or running water or noticeable difference between the status of women and cows seems like a pretty horrific place but George is blind to all of it. He insists that his sons fit in. This painful clash of cultures is diluted by the clunky dialogue and poorly etched characters ? the most annoying is a Pir who only exists to impart wisdom to Sajid.
Om Puri, Ila Arun and Linda Basett give solid performances ? there is a beautifully done scene in which Ella and Ill Arun who plays George?s first wife, communicate their anguish even though they can?t understand each other?s language.
But sadly there is too little of this and too much of strained emotions and limp laughs. I?m going with two and a half stars.