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Wild West Review

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This scrappy little picture about a Pakistani Country And Western group in Southall follows the cowboy-hatted Zaf (Andrews) as he gets his band together. Backed up by his brothers and a drumming cousin whose forgotten fags are always setting light to his turban, Andrews' troupe comes to life when he brings in Choudhury, battered wife of a white minicab tycoon, to belt out those Nanci Griffith-style heartbreak numbers.

The actual plot is predictable and unfocused - disasters sprinkled between triumphs - but the film takes a goofily comic approach that is extremely likeable. The group are assailed by embittered Asian thugs who suffer progressively at the jaws of a fierce dog, while funny minor characters (such as the group's gun-toting, big-talking manager) keep the chuckles coming.

There is even a hint of a theme in the heroes' confusion of cultural identities - torn between Pakistan, Southall and Nashville - and a kind of defiant stupidity in their love of an unfashionable music form. While the performances are variable and much of the knockabout second-rate, the screenplay has plenty of witty lines to recommend it.

And even if it doesn't match The Commitments in the musical stakes - the group never really convince as a band - at least there is the chance to have a giggle and to witness a complicated bit of modern Britain being allowed to enjoy itself on screen for a change.

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