It’s hard to get excited about this late sequel to the 1999 box office smash ‘East Is East’. The 12-year gap suggests it’s no simple cash-in and yet there’s little feeling it’s a story demanding to be heard. We’re back in 1970s Salford where Om Puri stars as Pakistani patriarch George, who again precedes every noun with ‘bloody’ in order to instil national pride in the minds of his wayward brood. Young Sajid (debutant Aqib Khan) – sadly shorn of his trademark, over-sized parka – is having a tough time caring about his heritage. And so we’re packed off to an unfeasibly lush Pakistan for the rest of the film, where Sajid is grudgingly submerged in family history and George must face past demons which explain why he decamped to Salford and married a white woman (Linda Bassett, sadly underused).
With no culture-clash cliché left unplundered, Andy DeEmmony sets his camera to autopilot for a film which never decides who or what it’s about. There’s some formulaic fun in the script, mostly in Sajid’s curt, sweary reaction to local custom, but the film doesn’t come together, partly because it veers back and forth between broad comedy and high melodrama, but mainly because we never feel an iota of empathy for either George or his child-rearing issues.