PG | 88 min | Documentary, Comedy, Romance
Review - Matt Mungle
**In select theaters September 18th*
Synopsis: MEET THE PATELS is a laugh-out-loud real life romantic comedy about Ravi Patel, an almost-30-year-old Indian-American who enters a love triangle between the woman of his dreams - and his parents.
Review: Most successful documentaries are based on an environmental crisis, a hard to believe news story, or a look into the history and background of a cultural icon. For most of us the thought of following our family around with a camera would be far from entertaining or relevant. But for actor Ravi Patel his family is big screen gold.
The film is primarily about Ravi and his dating situation. His parents are pressuring him to get married and have many grandchildren. Like many Indian couples they were married at a young age in a matchmaker setting. The American ritual of dating for years and dating many people is a foreign concept. So when Ravi turns his social life over to his parent's traditional methods he learns a lot about his own heritage and about himself as well. And all of this is caught on camera by his sister Geeta Patel us all to enjoy.
There is always a heartwarming, endearing, and bonding feeling about the Indian culture and it's people. That is one element that makes this documentary so fun to watch. Even in their bickering there is a since of love and loyalty. Plus here we get a first hand glance at the family dynamic of the Patel clan. The history of matchmaking, the inner workings of the social networking, and the infamous Biodata form that is essential in all Indian prearranged marriages. E-harmony has nothing on these Patels.
Ravi is a genuine guy and you instantly like him. He is funny and entertaining but at the same time sincere in his desire to make his parents happy. So much so that he is willing to put aside his American mindset and give them full control.
The scene stealers of this Docu-comedy though are his parents. Champa and Vasant are so excited about taking their sons dating issues under their wing. They can't understand why he is reluctant since their culture is rich in successful marriages. They are convinced they will find him the perfect woman in no time. All he has to do is trust the system. Ravi's father Vasant is a warm and delightful man whom the camera loves. His onscreen presence is bright and charming.
MEET THE PATELS is rated PG for thematic elements, brief suggestive images and incidental smoking. Granted it is safe for most age groups but would be quite boring for those under 17. The themes and dialogues are hilarious if you understand the dynamic of the story. I give it 3.75 out of 5 speed dates. As far as documentaries go it is light, informative, and very fun to watch.