Parents' Guide to

Meet the Patels

By Brian Costello, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 12+

Indian culture explored in romcom/documentary blend.

Movie PG 2014 88 minutes
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Meet the Patels is a unique and often funny documentary exploring one man's search for love as he straddles two cultures with two very different approaches to finding the perfect life partner. What especially works about it is that, no matter how exasperated family members become with each other, it's all done out of a sense of love and a desire for happiness. While it more or less follows the structure of a fictional romcom, it's the only romcom where the matchmaking is replaced by the possibility of an arranged marriage. The arguments in favor of arranged marriages as made by Ravi's elders come through in a way that makes sense to non-Indian viewers.

Where Meet the Patels falls short is that it becomes redundant after a while. After yet another lecture from the parents about how Ravi needs to get married, it's hard not to scream, "OK, we get it!" at the screen. It's also worth noting that the "happily ever after" ending isn't quite what ended up happening in real life, and while the actual ending seems as "happily ever after" as the movie ending, it demands, at the very least, a "Where Are They Now?" epilogue. The different endings reveal the problem in adhering too closely to a "romcom" plot structure when dealing with reality.

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