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Review: Bollywood-infused romantic comedy '5 Weddings' delivers few laughs and no love

Review: Bollywood-infused romantic comedy '5 Weddings' delivers few laughs and no love
Nargis Fakhri and Rajkummar Rao in the movie "Five Weddings." (Uniglobe Entertainment / Amaash Films / Vision Films)

Despite chemistry between its attractive leads, “5 Weddings” is a hot mess that deserves to be left at the altar. Inorganic and implausible, this Bollywood-inflected rom-com features little comedy and even less romance.

To save her flailing fashion magazine — and become its new editor in chief — Shania (Nargis Fakhri) gets an assignment she dreads: leave the comfort of Los Angeles and return to her native India to cover the country’s matrimonial traditions. With handsome local cop Harbhajan Singh (Rajkummar Rao) and his funny partner, Donald (Ravi Aneja), as her guides, she attends various ceremonies at five weddings.

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Spoiled Shania discovers there is more to India than she remembers. Despite pushback from the authorities, including Officer Singh, she becomes intrigued by hijra, the third gender, and its role in the ceremonies. Meanwhile, Shania searches for her father, whom she hasn’t seen since she and her mother (Bo Derek) left decades earlier for America.

Written by Denise Cruz-Castino, Andy Glickman and director Namrata Singh Sujral, the script for “5 Weddings” appears reverse engineered away from the interesting idea of focusing on hijra. On top of its muddled screenplay, Sujral’s narrative debut features some odd filmmaking choices, particularly in its camerawork and tonal shifts. It has occasionally funny moments, but it offers neither insight into Indian culture nor a compelling central romance.

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‘5 Weddings’

Not rated

Running time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Playing: Starts Oct. 26, AMC Burbank Town Center

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