Gregory Kirschling
July 30, 2004 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Flavors

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
Unrated
runtime
114 minutes
Limited Release Date
07/16/04
performer
Reef Karim, Pooja Kumar, Anupam Mittal, Mohit Shah
director
Krishna D.K., Raj Nidimoru
distributor
Net Effect
genre
Comedy

We gave it a C+

Flavors, a (mostly) English-language Bollywood-esque relationship comedy, slightly recalls ”The Sopranos,” in that it might surprise some people that the New Jersey suburbs are teeming not just with identifiably human mobsters but with living, stressing, mate-seeking Indian Americans as well. Let’s meet a bunch of them.

Front and center at this innocuous but too-cutesy affair is Kartik (Reef Karim), a playful joker who’s best phone-friends with the similarly likable Rachna (Pooja Kumar), a West Coaster who spends far too long — as in, the entire movie — pretending that the two of them aren’t completely movie-made for each other. There’s also Rad (Anupam Mittal), a laid-back dude whose marriage to a white woman brings Kartik, Rachna, and the rest of the characters together. Of these, the least appealing is a laid-off computer sad sack named Vivek (Mohit Shah), who pines so interminably for a woman back in India that by the film’s end, you’re happy for her that she got away.

Earnest and intermittently diverting, this cheerful little movie isn’t the sort of thing you see every day. At the same time, it’s precisely the sort of thing you see every day, given that the subpar execution makes everybody look like characters in a B movie rather than real people. ”Flavors” eschews Bollywood’s typical song- and-dance numbers, but its other strange distancing devices — bleeping out the F-words, an unfunny moment where characters directly acknowledge the audience — kind of make you wish it hadn’t.

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