I’m not sure what kind of movie Polite Society was supposed to be, but my guess is that writer/director Nida Manzoor did not set out to make it the dud that it is.
About a young stuntwoman-in-training who feels that her older sister is making a huge mistake by marrying a man via an arranged marriage, Polite Society is an action-comedy that lacks compelling action and suffers from immensely flat humor. The story feels like a rough hack at an Indian version of Get Out, and really the movie’s only saving graces are the cast, who earnestly appear to be doing their best given the material.
There’s arguably nothing more painful than listening to someone who thinks they’re funny and they just aren’t; Polite Society elicits that same sensation. The humor isn’t cringe-inducing as much as it is pure nothingness; you can tell the things the actors are saying or doing are supposed to be funny, but all you hear is the cruel buzz of crickets.
The action isn’t much better. Poorly choreographed and awkwardly shot/edited, there simply isn’t anything good to say about it. When I was describing the movie to my wife, I excitedly told her, based on the trailer, that it was a badass Indian woman kicking butt in a sari–but the reality is much more sobering. There isn’t much action, and the action that there is barely registers.
I did like the cast, most notably star Priya Kansara; she has an aura about her that, given the right opportunity, could spell great things for her future.
Unfortunately, Polite Society isn’t that opportunity–and that’s the most polite way of putting it.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.