THREE AND A HALF STARS Ria. High school student. Stunt woman. Saviour of sisters.
COMEDY ACTION UK English #POLITESOCIETY
Starring Priya Kansara, Ritu Arya
With tongue firmly in cheek, POLITE SOCIETY starts with a bang and doesn’t let up; a relentless entertainment that’s totally in tune with its graphic novel aesthetic. By the standards of cinematic stereotypes regarding Pakistani families in London, life for sisters Ria and Lena is pretty good. Their mostly relaxed working class parents are ok with Lena’s ambition to be a failed artist and Ria's high-school ambition to be a stunt woman. But this cosy world is upended when a ridiculously handsome and extraordinarily wealthy young doctor falls for, then proposes to, Lena. Will she say yes? Of course, he’s a rich doctor! Mum and Dad are ecstatic but Ria can smell a rat. Worse, she can smell the rat’s even smellier mother.
And so this tale of two siblings spirals into the joyfully absurd as Ria tries to break up the engagement with the help of her best friends and her fledgling stunt-fighter capabilities. As you do. Especially once she discovers a secret lab in the basement of the doctor’s doting mother’s mansion. You can see where this is going.
Clearly pitched at late-teens and anyone with a thing for martial-arts-action-comedy-girl-power movies, POLITE SOCIETY is a lot of fun. Silly, yes. Utterly unbelievable? Of course. But fun none the less as it probes and pokes the establishment with spin-kicks, grappling hooks and false moustaches. It’s an ambitious debut from writer/director Nida Manzoor that hits the mark and keeps on hitting it with so much playful energy that you can't help but get swept up in it all. Even those of us who couldn’t be further from her target demographic should be delighted by the fizzy chaos. Even when it all gets too much, Manzoor has earned enough goodwill to keep you wanting more. Bring it on.