When everyone’s dissin’ your chubby single daughter what is a mum to do? Kill them with curry and make friends with their ghosts of course! The team that brought us Bend It Like Beckham has swapped goals for ghouls in this supernatural comedy with broad appeal.
Mrs Sethi (Shabana Azmi) is a widow living in Southall whose last wish in life is to see her only daughter married off. She’s having a tough time making it happen, Roopi (Goldy Notay) is a bit plump, has a moustache and is very opinionated.
When Roopi is rejected again and again the matriarch seeks revenge on the snooty suitors and their families with a curry-themed killing spree. When their ghosts come back to haunt her they realise their ticket to reincarnation means helping to find a husband for Roopi.
Okay so it’s a completely ridiculous plot but It’s A Wonderful Afterlife has some charm and should trigger at least a few chortles. It has the feel and style of an old Ealing Comedy or Carry On film – camp and corny but gently amusing. You’ll groan at the gags but it’s hard to really dislike this feel-good movie.
Azmi is superb as the suburban serial killer and steals every scene she appears in. Notay, who piled on the pounds for the role, is a decent lead who makes a change from the usual anonymous Megan Fox-alikes that crop up everywhere these days.
The rest of the cast is pretty predictable given that this is a British-Asian film – Sendhil Ramamurthy, Ray Panthaki, Jimi Mistry and Sanjeev Bhaskar all appear. Sally Hawkins has a great turn as Roopi’s psychic mate Linda while Zoe Wanamaker provides some laughs as the family’s next-door neighbour.
Described as My Big Fat Greek Wedding meets Shaun Of The Dead, It’s A Wonderful Afterlife works best when it looks at love and family – attempts to parody horror films don’t fare so well.
Nonetheless, like the dish you always order from your local Indian, It’s A Wonderful Afterlife is nothing too daring but has a bit of a kick and goes down well.