"Give me one thing guaranteed to make me less calm than inviting Arshad al-Fucking-Stalin into my family."
— MahmudA British comedy released in 2010, that explores one of the most important and relevant questions of our time: what if, one day, you woke up and found that everything you thought you knew about yourself was a lie?As the film opens our protagonist, Mahmud Nasir, is preparing to meet the stepfather of his son's fiancee Uzma, a radical cleric from Pakistan named Arshad al-Masri. In order to obtain Arshad's blessing for the marriage, Mahmud agrees to pretend to be a devout Muslim for a few days. There are only two problems with this arrangement. The first is that Mahmud has a history of not being particularly devout. The second is that he has just found out he was adopted and that his birth parents are Jewish.Mahmud sets out to rediscover his identity and reconcile the two conflicting worlds that he now finds himself in, while simultaneously fending off the suspicions of, well, pretty much everybody. Thus, Hilarity Ensues.
This film contains examples of:
- Accent Relapse: When Mahmud is at the Bar Mitzvah celebration, he relapses into Arabic(?) whenever he gets too stressed.
- All Jews Are Ashkenazi: Mahmud has an Ashkenazi background in spite of the fact that he's played by a Persian actor. The film does explore many different Jewish communities, however.
- Boomerang Bigot: Lenny is something of a self-hating Jew. He also does not consider Israelis to be real Jews because they are not ashamed to be Jewish.
- Fundamentalist Arshad dislikes non-Muslims yet he is actually a former Scientologist.
- Cringe Comedy
- Deathbringer the Adorable: Mahmud's young daughter, who runs around with a scimitar and chants extremist slogans.
- Faking the Dead: Arshad al-Masri used to be Gary Page, a former pop star whose career took a dive after he made a racist remark in public.
- The Fundamentalist: Arshad al-Masri is so prominently extremist he can get al-Qaeda to provide catering for his parties.
- Godwin's Law: "Okay, a last runthrough of things not to mention: Hitler. Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Hitler. The fact that you're actually Muslim."
- Jewish Complaining: Of course.
- Jews Love to Argue: Well, they do. Very few scenes with Jewish characters in them do not have some kind of argument.
- Mistaken for Gay: After finding out he was born Jewish, Mahmud goes to ask the local Imam for guidance and eventually, word gets back to his wife that he might be gay.
- Mistaken for Racist: Serves as a Brick Joke. Early in the film, Mahmud attends a pro-Palestinian rally where he burns a kippah and chants anti-Zionist slogans. This almost results in him being arrested later on for inciting hatred.
- Stock Foreign Name: In the story itself, Mahmud's birth name, Solly Shimshillewitz. Lenny points out that his parents could have just called him Jewy Jewjewjewjew and gotten more or less the same effect.
- Training Montage: Played for laughs as Mahmud learns about dancing, Yiddish, griping, and much more in an attempt to pass for a Jew.
- Villainous Breakdown: When Arshad begins to lose the debate, his exterior crumbles, allowing Mahmud to reveal his true identity.
- You Have to Believe Me: When he first finds out about Mahmud's parentage, Lenny laughs and demands to know why he should believe him. Mahmud simply responds, "Why should I make it up?" Lenny concedes that he has a point.