The new Eid film releases offer nothing in particular, Soha Hesham finds out
While the annual crop of holiday season films Òê" released in time for Eid Al-Fitr Òê" is usually far from the best being made, this year's fare must include some of the worst. Four new features Òê" Teta Rahiba (Grandma Horrible), starring Mohamed Heneidi, Emy Samir Ghanem, Samiha Ayoub and Bassem Samra, written by Youssef Maati and directed by Sameh Abdel-Aziz; Mr and Mrs Owaiss, starring Hamada Hilal and Boshra, Loltfi Labib, directed by Akram Farid; Al-Bar (The Pub), starring rising actors such as Mona Mamdouh, Mohamed Ahmed Maher, Ali El-Tayeb and directed by Mazen El-Gabali; and Baba, starring Ahmed El-Saqqa, Dorra, Salah Abdallah and Hanaa El-Shorbagi, and directed by Ali Idris Òê" offer variation but no satisfaction.
The latter, Baba (Dad), is Ahmed El-Saqqa's new comedy flick, in which the action star relinquishes his genre of choice after his last film, Al-Maslaha (The Benefit), directed by Sandra Nashaat (his last comedy was Ibn Al-Qounsul, directed by Amr Arafa in 2010). In Baba, El-Saqqa plays Hazem, a famous gynecologist who specialises in test-tube babies, recently married to Farida (Dorra) who works as an interior designer; it seems screenwriter Zeinab Aziz didn't bother to build very viable characters.
Hazem, for example, is unnecessarily clumsy; there is no dramatic reason for all his premarital relationships. Likewise Farida, who after a two-minute conversation with a divorced friend recently back in Egypt with a child develops the obsessive belief that a child is the most important thing in marriage: why she insists on having a test-tube baby when there is no need for it is never explained. The comedy centres on the clinic: the experiences of Hazem's friend (Edward) and his wife; those of a fundamentalist couple (the man is played by Khaled Sarhan) and a man with four wives (Lotfi Labib) who asks for four separate sperm sample jars Òê" and later delivers all four of them. Obscenity galore: two women are trying to seduce their husbands to obtain sperm samples; each prays in a different way since one is Muslim and the other Christian.
After the failure of Farida's operation, she has an unreasonable quarrel with Hazem, blaming him for not having a child, and heads to her parents' house in a huff Òê" the silly excuse for Hazem to accidentally reunite with a former girlfriend (a cameo by Nicole Saba) during a conference in Lebanon. The next day Hazem wakes up to find a little boy telling that he is his father and a letter from his said girlfriend. Farida finally follows her husband to Beirut to discover the boy - who will finally turn out not to be Hazem's son, of course Òê" and, as the couple return to Cairo, Farida finds herself pregnant.
Likewise Mohamed Heneidi's film Teta Rahiba (Grandma Horrible), which tops the Egyptian box office following four years during which Heneidi was absent from the silver screen after his last film, Amir El-Behar (Prince of the Seas), especially since he stars alongside major actors: the veterans Samiha Ayoub and Abdel-Rahman Abu Zahra and the young talents Emy Samir Ghanem and Bassem Samra. A brief account of its storyline, which is already confused, will give an idea of how disappointing it was.
Raouf (Mohamed Heneidi) is a 40-year old man living with his grandfather (Abdel-Rahman Abu Zahra) after a terrible childhood spent with his grandmother (Samiha Ayoub), who has since moved to Germany. Screenwriter Youssef Maati and director Sameh Abdel-Aziz manage to tackle the issue of how the police treats civilians in a scene in which Raouf driving his grandmother's old car is stopped at a checkpoint by a police officer (also played by Khaled Sarhan) who ends up beating up Raouf - and is videotaped while doing it, only to be apprehended by his superiors and treat Raouf with (hilariously exaggerated) politeness the next time he sees him, singing "Happy birthday to you" along with his guards when he finds out it's Raouf's birthday. After the death of his grandfather, Raouf decides to marry his colleague at one of the big chain supermarkets, when suddenly his grandmother decides to return to Egypt to live in the same house. Heneidi's long hair and round glasses are supposed to underline the confused childish character of Raouf, whose grandmother controls. The dose of social preaching usual in Heneidi's films in the last scene is delivered by his grandmother in the court room, when they confront each other in an attempt to divide the apartment between them.