It's A Wonderful Afterlife (12A)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner22/04/2010

Two out of Five stars
Running time: 100 mins

Disappointing comedy that fails to find the right tone and is let down by a messy script and a lack of decent laughs, though it does have at least one great moment.

What's it all about?
Co-written and directed by Gurinder Chadha, It's A Wonderful Afterlife stars Shabana Azmi as the widowed Mrs Sethi, who's so desperate to marry off her slightly overweight daughter Roopi (Goldy Notay) that she murders four people (Shaheen Khan, Sanjeev Bhaskar, Adlyn Ross and Ash Varrez) who have somehow stood in the way. However, her murderous plan backfires considerably when her four victims reappear as ghosts and vow to help her marry off Roopi so that they can have a shot at reincarnation.

As luck would have it, Roopi's childhood friend Murthy (Sendhil Ramamurthy) is back in town and apparently single, much to Mrs Sethi's (and Roopi's) thinly-veiled delight. There's just one small problem – he's a police detective tasked with investigating the murders.

The Good
Notay is very good as Roopi and there's strong support from the always excellent Sally Hawkins as Roopi's just-back-from-an-ashram best friend Linda. She's also the subject of the film's best scene, a delightful and impressively staged pastiche of the prom scene in Carrie, although, admittedly, the scene feels like it belongs in a different film and would have worked a lot better as a short.

The Bad
The film's biggest problem is the script, which veers wildly from black comedy to straight-up farce to gross-out to romcom without ever finding the right tone. There are hints of a much better film here (something along the lines of Ealing classic Kind Hearts and Coronets) but it gets increasingly bogged down in a badly thought-out plot (it's hard to root for a heroine who's just murdered four people), some unforgivable mugging (mostly by Bhaskar) and a series of gags that fall painfully flat.

The film is further let down by some cheap-looking production design (the make-up on the ghosts is very poor) and a couple of lacklustre performances (notably Ramamurthy, who's essentially a good-looking block of wood and has no chemistry with Notay).

Worth seeing?
Despite its potentially decent premise, It’s A Wonderful Afterlife is something of a disappointment thanks to a lack of decent gags and a badly thought-out script that fails to find the right tone.

Film Trailer

It's A Wonderful Afterlife (12A)
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Content updated: 23/10/2017 01:21

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