Touch of Pink

Reviewed By David Cornelius
Posted 01/12/05 13:29:59

"All that's missing is Mr. Furley."
1 stars (Sucks)

You know those sitcoms where a relative is coming to visit, and the main character sets up some elaborate lie about his/her life, usually involving somebody posing as a spouse or whatnot, which all holds up until the end, in which the relative discovers the truth? And you know how pissed off you get when you realize that you’ve just started watching one of these damn shows? Welcome, my friend, to the world of “Touch of Pink,” an inept sitcom of a movie that’s oh-so-painful in its predictable lameness.

And to make matters worse - much, much worse - writer/director Ian Iqbal Rashid dares to invoke the spirit of none other than Cary Grant. Which, to be fair, is the film’s best touch, on paper, at least. The plot, you see, involves a gay Pakistani who converses with the spirit of Grant, which sounds like a nifty update of “Play It Again, Sam,” until you realize that the gay Pakistani is being played by Jimi Mistry, whose turn in “The Guru” was downright unwatchable; and that Grant is being played by Kyle MacLachlan, with an impersonation so broad that his entire preparation seems to have been his saying “Judy, Judy, Judy” in the mirror once or twice; and that the plot involves the aforementioned visiting relative.

In other words: sweet gravy, is this a mess. Rashid, a former TV writer making his feature debut, brings to the screen every cliché he could possibly dig up, most promintently the nagging mother (Suleka Mathew), a character based on every nagging mother to ever appear on film or television in the last, oh, forever or so. This is a character so unlikable in her comical meanness that you find yourself rooting for the scene in which someone just up and belts her (which, sadly, never happens). And yet we’re asked to feel for her by movie’s end, a request gone completely unearned by all that comes before.

There are other unlikable characters, too, not the least of is Mistry’s Alim, who hurts and annoys everyone around him in his desperate ploy to remain closeted; at first, it’s a mildly cute plot device, but after a while, it’s a sure sign to not like the idiot. And what of Alim’s boyfriend (Kristen Holden-Reid), who must pose as a roomie when mom’s around - and who keeps lusting after another guy throughout the film? Surely we’re not being asked to hope he and Alim reconcile, after all the sleeping around he does. What? We are? Hmm.

The movie’s biggest offender, however, is not the parade of tired plot points and worn-out Jack Tripper-style misunderstandings, but the use of Grant. Throughout, we’re shown clips of Grant films, or given references to famous scenes, and we realize hey, wouldn’t we rather be watching of of those movies instead? To be stuck in a horrible film and then witness horrible rip-offs of far better works (hearing Mistry quote the Hepburns is a miserable experience I wish not to repeat any time soon) is like serving your dinner guest White Castles while you enjoy a prime rib.

And then we come to the bit in which Grant sees Alim’s family and thinks he’s on the set of “Gunga Din.” Get it? Sigh... At least Rashid could’ve tried to milk the material for some kind of gag, but no, all we get it is “ooh, brown people! I must be in ‘Gunga Din,’ and what do you think about that?”

Did I mention Alim’s creepy cousin, who comes onto Alim in the film’s sleaziest moment? Or the jokes in which the boyfriend’s sister has to pass for Alim’s fiancée? No? Lucky you, then. “Touch of Pink” is a disaster, a blend of trite plot points and obnoxious characters, held together by the notion that you should be watching something else instead. Which is not a good way to make your movie.

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