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Review: Beeba Boys

Deepa Mehta’s wildly entertaining and yet terribly flawed Beeba Boys does not so much represent a departure from the auteur’s previously austere films, but a wild deviation.

Of course, there is a lot of fun to be found in this tale of gangster lore featuring a determined performance by Randeep Hooda as lead Beeba Boy Jeet Johar, and Waris Ahluwala is entertaining as the aptly monikered Manny the Joker, (he tells jokes, see?)

But the writer-director’s sumptuous feast of colour, sound, lush Vancouver locations, (with Toronto standing in for B.C. in more than a few occasions), gunshots, title splashes, everything short of the kitchen sink leaves out one crucial element: tone.

It remains totally unclear as to whether the film was meant to be a very broad comedy, a grounded gangster picture or some twisted hybrid. Because the movie cannot exist in the spaces between without feeling like a made for TV production.

And this is before we get to Paul Gross’s inspired turn as a bumbling and yet brutal henchman, white hair all caught up in a man-bun. In fact, our introduction to his Jamie is seeing that an anonymous woman is on her knees in front of him, head hidden.

The portrayal of women in the film is baffling, especially considering that a female helmed it. Sarah Allen’s gangster moll Katya is given to the most banal of clichés, and while the focus is Beeba Boys, Mehta is surprisingly mean to girls.

[star v=25]