Parents' Guide to


By Barbara Shulgasser-Parker, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Four comic stories about Saudi life; language, smoking.

Movie NR 2023 118 minutes
AlKhallat+ movie poster: numerous faces are jammed in a blender

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

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Movies like Alkhallat+, which represent humanity as if it were populated almost entirely by idiots, aren't for everyone. In this comedy subgenre, the emphasis is on the supposed hilarity inherent in watching stupid people struggle with their stupidity. Worse yet, by way of inelegant directing and editing, these four completely unrelated stories are jammed together for no good reason. Publicity suggests that the stories take place on the same day, which still doesn't connect them in any substantial way. If there can be said to be a theme, it might be the depiction of hypocrisy -- people breaking strict religious rules about extramarital affairs, drinking alcohol, and the unacceptable behavior of women. But this may be lost on anyone living in a Western democracy, for whom drinking, having an affair, and dressing in a short skirt aren't punishable by a prison term.

To a Saudi audience, on the other hand, the film may amount to a daring and controversial protest of religious restrictions and the hypocrisy surrounding them. If protest is the point, that may explain why so little effort was made to create actual plots. The protest alone may seem sufficient to the filmmakers. In most movies, both plot and consistent characters help. Here, when a kitchen worker brings her estranged parents to her fancy restaurant in the hopes of bringing them back together, a mean manager turns uncharacteristically kind and then mean again. Her mother is dour and negative, then for no reason turns sunny and romantic. Nothing here makes sense or creates dramatic tension. Finally, the closing credits start with a typo, spelling the director-writer's name two different ways.

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