'Blinded by the Light' - Movie Review

I should not have watched this movie. Gurinder Chadha has become the voice of the Indian experience in the U.K. - I fell in love with "Bend it Like Beckham" when it came out. She's had a mixed career since, but that movie has been enough to keep me watching her. But on the other side of the argument - the movie is about a young Pakistani man who's extremely passionate about Bruce Springsteen. I hate Springsteen more than I like Chadha.

Javed Khan (Viveik Kalra) lives with his family in Luton (I had to look it up: it's a small town about 50 km outside London). It's 1987. He has to contend with a very traditional father, racist neighbours (not all of them), and the classic teen concerns like self-doubt and the opposite sex. At a new school - or maybe just a new year of school - he meets Roops, who pitches him Springsteen. So from about 20 minutes onward we have a solid Springsteen soundtrack to a fairly typical (although well done) growing-up-in-the-suburbs story.

Kalra is charming as Javed. His father (played by Kulvinder Ghir) looks different, sounds different, acts differently than the father in "Bend it Like Beckham," but he puts up the same roadblocks for Javed and has the same story arc. A couple of pseudo-musical numbers (actors lip-syncing and dancing to Bruce) didn't help the appeal of the movie. And given the size of the man's catalogue, I thought multiple repetitions of a couple of his best known songs was unnecessary (and painful).

A fairly good movie completely ruined for me by the unsurprising inclusion of way too much Springsteen. I thought maybe I'd have got over my dislike by now, but no - this only made it worse.