To be gay and Muslim in Los Angeles…how much more culturally diasporic can we get?! Lamentably Breaking Fast is not half as funny and sassy and cool as the clever title suggests. Breaking Fast could mean the Ramzan month when love blossoms between our Middle Eastern hero No (Haz Sleiman) and an Impossibly Handsome American (IHA) man named Jo…MoJo, get it?...no no I am kidding, the IHA is named Kal (Michaal Cassidy).
Sparks fly, fireworks illuminate the romantic sky and all ye romantics out there, just sigh sigh sigh. For me, this very popular well-reviewed is way too sugary to get a pat on its back for its brave and healthy look at the Muslim community. Mo’s family is a crackling talkative brood of fringe liberals. And guess what? He even gets to joke about ‘hijacking’. Not a single character is a terrorist. Unless we look at a Mo as an emotional terrorist. He will have love and what follows in bed and off it, entirely on his terms. He won’t let the IHA (impossibly handsome American) touch him until Ramzan is over.
In the meanwhile, the sparks fly. Kal ticks off all the boxes in the brochure of Perfect Partnership. He is kind, generous, patient, funny, attentive…. He cooks for Mo and waits patiently for him to end his month of abstinence. The irreverent humour flies off the writing board, with purposely smart lines tumbling furiously off fast-moving lips as though life is nothing but a series of rapid-fire rounds.
Everyone talks like their dialogues are written for smartness rather than communication. The scenes are so manufactured in their cuteness they make you cringe. In one notable sequence, Mo runs out of the shower in a towel to answer the doorbell, greets Kal and his towel falls off. “Don’t look don’t look,” Mo panics, as Kal wears the bemused look of a lover who will wait till the end the world (why only Ramzan) to….errrr… look.
As Kal Michael Cassidy is a supermarket of expressions. This is the kind of film that needs the actors to SHOW more than feeling the emotions. Haaz Sleiman’s Mo comes across as too self-obsessed to deserve the unconditional love that flows all around him. I found the character way too taken up with licking its own wounds to see what a wonderful world he has around him: a loving doting accepting family which has no problems with his sexual orientation, and a ‘Tata’ (grandmother) who continues to live on his voicemail after her death.
Goodness, what more does Mo want? The one with the real problems is his best friend played by Amil El Gamal. He is gay, he is confused, he is without religious belief, and worse of all, his character is just a prop for the hero Mo to springboard his aspirations on. Someone should make a film about him.
Directed by Mike Mosallam, Breaking Fast getsb2 and a half stars
Image source: Instagram/watchmmp, Youtube/Vertical Entertainment, IMDb
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