East Is East writer Ayub Khan Din, turns out another rather predictable offering that centres on generational conflict in an Asian community. An adaptation of his play Rafta Rafta (itself a new version of the 1963 Bill Naughton play), All In Good Time is a contrived comedy that suffers further because of an improbable central concept.
Newlyweds Atul (Reece Ritchie) and Vina (Amara Karan) find that the limelight is stolen from their wedding day by Atul’s larger than life father Eeshwar (Harish Patel), who seems oblivious to any of his son’s wishes.
Worse, the couple are unable to consummate their marriage because at home, they find the proximity of Atul’s parents in the tiny family house off-putting. And when their honeymoon is cancelled and the word gets out that they still haven’t “done it”, gossipy neighbours and interfering family members continually put Atul off his stroke.
All In Good Time feels extremely old fashioned and the central concept never really feels like it’s the obstacle that the film would like you to believe. While it is conceivable that a stressful family life and constant prying of friends and acquaintances could delay the old “in-out in-out”, it feels completely implausible that a mere few days of this would cause a previously besotted couple to consider abandoning their marriage completely. Perhaps this would have been more believable set in the 1960s but in modern day Bolton, it’s a bit much to swallow.
Every other obstacle feels constructed. Atul and Vina are constantly disgusted by the noises that Eeshwar makes that they can hear through the thin walls but presumably Atul has lived in the house his whole life and would be aware of the problem, so why hasn’t he made preparations in advance. Furthermore, it’s problem that could easily be fixed on the first night by visiting a hotel and it’s never made clear why they don’t just do that in the first place.
The performances are decent but feel quite stagey and reminiscent of its theatrical origins. Harish Patel is particularly good as Atul’s boisterous father – waddling around with his belly leading the way like a man who swallowed a beach ball, declamatory finger always poised to waggle at his son’s latest perceived ingratitude.
There are occasional touching moments. Meera Syal’s tearful revelation at the unhappiness of her marriage and the core reason which has so far remained buried explains a lot about the father/son dynamics of the rest of the film. But it’s something that comes far too late to impact on what is a dull, implausible and decidedly laugh-free comedy.