That's what makes "Meet the Patels" PG, 1: Technically classified as a documentary and accomplishing many of the things that documentaries do , this movie is also a comedy and a romance. The main character in this romantic comedy documentary is Ravi Patel. In real life, he's an actor and comedian in Los Angeles. Also in real life, he's had to deal with some of the same issues as many young men and women who have roots in India, yet grew up in the U. His parents, Vasant and Champa, who emigrated from India in , want him to marry a nice Indian girl and give them nice Indian grandchildren.
Ravi isn't opposed to this, but isn't sure how to go about it in the modern world. As the film opens, he's just broken up with Ashley, his red-haired American girlfriend of two years, because he feels the need to commit to someone with whom he can more easily raise a family like he and his sister, Geeta, were raised.
Ravi is just under 30 and Geeta is just north of 30, making it a minor scandal within their family and circle of friends that neither of them is married. This film chronicles Ravi's search, over the course of a year, to find a woman whom he and, hopefully, his parents, think would be a good match for him.
Even though their own union is the product of a traditional Indian arranged marriage, Vasant and Champa have lived in the U. But that doesn't stop them from helping the process along.
Early in the film, the family takes a trip to India during "wedding season", which they believe is a great opportunity for Ravi to find his bride. Ravi, however, prefers to find an Indian girl in the U. The problem, as Arsenio Hall's character says in the similarly-themed "Coming to America", is that "the land is so vast, the choices so infinite.
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Ravi's parents circulate a bio sheet about him amongst other Indian-American families, whose eligible bachelorettes have bio sheets of their own. Ravi also tries meeting women online through Indian-American dating websites. Then, Ravi flies around the country having first dates with a number of the women he meets using these techniques, while his parents keep in constant contact with him, hoping to hear that there will be some second dates.
Ravi even attends an out-of-state marriage convention in the hopes that he'll meet and fall for, not just an Indian-American woman, but one named Patel, of which there are many. Behind the camera is Ravi's sister.
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We hear them converse about the latest developments in Ravi's search for his ideal woman and there are also reality-TV-style sit-down interviews with Ravi explaining to his sister how he sees things. At the beginning of the film, Ravi explains that, while Geeta is also in the movie business, she's no cinematographer, as evidenced by her shots which are sometimes out of focus, badly lit, poorly composed and include part of her boom mic in the upper right corner of the frame.
All this is true at various moments in the film plus, subtitles are sometimes used to make it clear what certain people are saying if the mic doesn't pick them up well enough , but the movie has well-executed creative aspects as well. Occasionally, Geeta and her fellow director Ravi and her fellow producers illustrate part of the story with appropriate graphics and animation.
Also, during most of Ravi's sit-down time talking to the camera, we hear his voice and Geeta's, as she interviews him , but what we see is a cartoon-animated version of Ravi, which sometimes includes a "long shot" of Ravi and Geeta together. Although this movie documents one man's romantic journey, the film does have writers — Ravi and Geeta, along with Billy McMillin and Matthew Hamachek who was both editor and co-producer on 's great documentary "Cartel Land". Given that the plan for this film was laid out as a documentary which is also a comedy and a romance, it should come as no surprise that we see aspects of other films, both other documentaries and romantic comedies, within this doc.
The unique combination of romantic comedy and documentary filmmaking makes for interesting story-telling. Not only do we want to learn how Ravi's search turns out, but we're also interested to learn from the story's cross-generational and cross-cultural tension. The immediate family of Ravi, Geeta, Vasant and Champa Patel are appealing and many of their interactions are both funny and endearing, as are Ravi's verbal observations, actions and reactions throughout the film.
Geeta's lack of expertise with the camera is unfortunate and distracting, but the story-telling is solid, relatable and entertaining. This very cute movie follows Indian actor Ravi Patel's adventures in dating, as, after breaking up with his adorably geeky white girlfriend he allows his parents to usher him into the world of Indian semi-arranged marriage, dating women all over the country as his sister documents his adventure and chats with him as both sister and interrogator.
The elaborate dating system he enters is quite interesting, and his eager-to-help parents are lovely people. The movie has a number of cute animated sequences, and as the movie progresses we learn a little about the behind-camera sister's own dating life. One thing about this movie - I'm not sure I like Ravi all that much. He comes across as an overly picky commitment-phobe whose vision of the ideal influences the way he treats women. He's not terrible, the movie does confront this issues to some extent, and I appreciate that he was willing to show himself this honestly, but still, I was a bit put off by him at times.
Still, this is informative and funny and nicely paced. Greetings again from the darkness. These days the topic of racism is usually only addressed in the form of hatred and closed mindedness. You might recognize Ravi Patel. He is an actor from Transformers and "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia", and here his real life search for a wife is the focus — as is the cultural contrasts between his roots in India and his single life in the United States. The movie picks up when Ravi has recently split with his long time girlfriend, Audrey Wauchope.
Despite being very close with his parents, there is one reason Ravi never informed them of the relationship: Audrey is a white girl, not an Indian. Ravi's parents are the product of an arranged marriage, the long-standing cultural tradition that not only matches male and female Indians, but takes it a step further by only pairing up Patels with roots in the same small geographic area of India.
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It's a form of selective mating that dates back many generations. Things get interesting and the laughs pick up as Ravi agrees to let his parents work the Indian dating network so that he can test out their traditions — in hopes of finding a match as well-suited as what theirs is. This process begins with "biodata"; a type of personal resume submitted by boys and girls — a precursor to the meet-up. It really plays like a home movie, or a video journal, as Geeta films Ravi on dates and directly after, as he provides feedback on whether it was a good match.
The family quest to find a mate for Ravi provides some interesting and entertaining insight into the culture, but the best parts of the film come courtesy of the parents.
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The mother and father are exceptionally intelligent and very loving and engaged in supporting the success of their kids. Whenever the film drags a bit, a scene with either parent picks us right back up. It's their commitment to the cause that highlights the cultural customs and challenges faced by immigrants as they struggle to get in step with American society while holding onto the tradition they so respect. MartinHafer 6 January In many ethnic groups in America, there is a strong expectation by families that their children will marry within their own ethnic group.
According to this documentary, not only do these Indian and Indian- American families want their kids to marry an Indian So, basically a Patel is expected to marry a Patel--and all have their original roots in the Gujarat region in India. This necessitates either returning to India to look for a bride or finding another Patel living abroad. This story is specifically about one of these folks and his journey to find a wife now that he's nearing The camera follows the guy to dating sites as well as dates across the United States. It all sounds really interesting, right?
Well, unfortunately, it really isn't. While it's billed as documentary and a comedy, there isn't a lot in the way of laughs and, most importantly, I never really cared about any of the folks in the film.
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This isn't because I am not interested in Indians or Indian culture I've watched several hundred Indian filmswhich is unusual for the average American. I just didn't find a compelling reason to care about this search. I did, however, like the little cartoon segments. There should have been more of them and they were cute.
Hellmant 22 January Three and a Half Stars Out of Five A comedic documentary flick; about an Indian-American actor, who's been single most of his life, that agrees to allow his traditional parents, to set him up with a potential bride on a trip to India. The film was directed by Ravi Patel who also stars in the movie , and his sister Geeta.
Geeta also filmed most of the documentary, in really poor quality video, and her footage is mixed with comedic animated sequences too explaining unfilmed plot points. The film is interesting, and funny; it also has a great leading man performance, in Ravi Patel. He's been single most of his life, and just broke up with his first girlfriend Audrey Wauchope ; due to a fear his parents wouldn't accept her Audrey is an American redhead. On a trip with his family to India, he decides to allow his parents Vasant and Chapa , to set him up with an Indian girl; in the traditional Indian family way. The film examines the concept of arranged couples, while Ravi's sister Geeta films the whole thing she's also been single most of her life.
The movie is interesting, in a very comedic but informative way. It's also extremely personal at times; and Ravi Patel is very funny, and charming. I enjoyed the movie, quite a bit, but it's a little hard for me to believe it's all completely genuine. Like a lot of modern documentary films, the movie seems more like really creative performance art; than like watching real people acting completely genuine , in completely real situations it seems at least partially staged. But I love performance art, I practice it a lot myself; and I love entertaining documentary flicks, like this, too.