Attempting to give enhanced meaning to "high concept," the British export "Dough," about a kosher bakery that sees a boost in business after a little cannabis is added to the batter, is a stickily genteel, cross-cultural comedy-drama that comes up blandly lacking on all counts.
When Nat Dayan (Jonathan Pryce), the elderly Jewish proprietor of a long-established bake shop in London's iffy East End, posts a sign in his window for a new apprentice, the arrival of devout African Muslim Ayyash (Jerome Holder) isn't exactly the answer to his prayers. But one day, after the youth, who deals marijuana on the side, hastily hides his stash in the mixing dough, Nat's dwindling customer base sees a dramatic turnaround.
The challah may be extra special, but the humor found in John Goldschmidt's direction and the conventional script by Yehudah Jez Freedman and Jonathan Benson is disappointingly stale, opting for warmed-over stereotypes instead of finding something sharper and more relevant to make out of contemporary Muslim-Jewish tensions.
Newcomer Holder makes for an engaging presence, and it's always nice to see seasoned pros like Pryce and Pauline Collins, who plays Pryce's widowed admirer, do their best to carve out a bit of subtlety in all those broad strokes. But "Dough," which caters to audiences of a certain age and stage, barely rises to the occasion.
Running time: 1 hour, 34 minutes