Eeeh, Ramsbottom. There’s nothing funnier than hearing it in a Punjabi accent. At least not in this good-natured but disposable follow-up to 2004 Brit hit East Is East, there isn’t.
Because, try as it might, West Is West offers no more uproar or insight into the British/ subcontinental divide than Carry On Up The Khyber.
What it does offer is an all-you-can-eat buffet of mildly amusing eeh-by-gummery, cross-cultural life lessons and easy-to-swallow performances, most notably from newcomer Aqib Khan as surly Salford teen Sajid.
Exasperated at the boy’s difficult behaviour (where does he get it from?), his father Jahingir (Puri) –"George" to his customers – resolves to teach him a little respect and appreciation for his heritage by taking him back to his hometown in the Punjab.
Despite a warm welcome from George’s first wife and the rest of his bafflingly extended family, Sajid is unimpressed.
But the lad is gradually won over by the sights (camels - bloody Nora!), sounds (Asian weddings - bloomin' 'eck!), and endless spiritual spoutings of his dad’s oldest mate (home-spun homilies - blinkin' tripe!).
For George, home has always been where the heart is. Unfortunately, he’s no longer sure where that might be. An awkward and depressing situation - even before his first wife (Linda Bassett) shows up unannounced.
To add to his problems, George is struggling to find a wife for his older son Maneer (Emil Marwa). Yes, in an ideal world, all men would get the chance to marry Nana Mouskouri. But here...?
While taking issues of inter-racial marriage, prejudice, migration and immigration seriously (though skirting around poverty and politics), West Is West is essentially a broad coming-of-age lark that applies to all ages.
It’s heart is definitely in the right place. But there’s more to comedy than funny accents. And daubing on Eastern profundities like lumpy henna won’t cover the cracks.
For a movie so keen to break down cultural divides, West Is West spends a great deal of time reinforcing northern stereotypes and the notion that enlightenment is exclusive to the East.
Time for the wise men of Wigan to unite. Both of them.