IT'S A WONDERFUL AFTERLIFE (12A) * DIRECTED BY: GURINDER CHADHA STARRING: GOLDY NOTAY, SHABANA AZMI, SENDHIL RAMAMURTHY, MARK ADDY
STILL coasting on the huge success of the enjoyable Bend It Like Beckham, writer/director Gurinder Chadha's new film is another exceptionally lazy effort, which, like the similarly weak Bride and Prejudice, is more of a pun in search of a story than an actual fully-fledged idea. A curry-related serial killer is the never-funny starting point for Chadha's groan-inducing tale of a frustrated Southall mother (Shabana Azmi) so desperate to see her plump daughter married she dispenses with anyone who rejects her. Haunted by her victims, and unwilling to set them free by killing herself until her daughter is hitched, these restless spirits take to helping her fix up the oblivious Roopi (Goldy Notay) with a handsome detective (Sendhil Ramamurthy) brought in by the hapless police force (led by Mark Addy) to investigate the crime. Adding to this catalogue of bad ideas is Happy-Go-Lucky's Sally Hawkins, who overdoes the fake tan to play Roopi's psychic best mate, a character presumably included so Chadha can unleash a bizarre homage to Carrie that is, without doubt, the worst film parody I've ever seen.