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Anoosh of the Airwaves

As tone-deaf and misjudged as comedy can get without melting off the screen altogether, James Westby's "Anoosh of the Airwaves" has the dubious distinction of setting a new low for American dumb-and-dumber cinema. This immigrant satire won't even open Saturday night, let alone close it, and will find no asylum in fest markets or beyond.

As tone-deaf and misjudged as comedy can get without melting off the screen altogether, James Westby’s “Anoosh of the Airwaves” has the dubious distinction of setting a new low for American dumb-and-dumber cinema. This immigrant satire won’t even open Saturday night, let alone close it, and will find no asylum in fest markets or beyond.

Arch 11-minute prologue shows how our wide-eyed Armenian hero, Anoosh (Melik Malkasian, noted in press notes as a first-time thesp when in fact he played in Westby’s previous pic, “Bloody Mary”), came into the world, with Mom (also Malkasian) giving birth aboard a Freedom Airlines flight. Story jumps forward 20 years to 1996, as Anoosh arrives in the States on a vague exchange program care of marrieds Walt and Suzy (Steven Clark Pachosa and Barbara Niven), then awkwardly flashes back to Anoosh’s sheep-herding childhood, when he’s chosen as Freedom Airlines’ poster child. Rather than dwelling on the natural comedy of this ad campaign, pic terminally doodles as Anoosh encounters loonies in suburbia. While Westby’s sense of camera placement is sometimes interesting, his sense of handling actors and action is nonexistent. Tech work is fine amid the shambles.

Anoosh of the Airwaves

(COMEDY)

Production: A Pacific Motion Picture Co. presentation of a Sugar Shack production. Produced by Timothy Whitcomb. Executive producer, Christopher Whitcomb. Directed, written by James Westby. Camera (Deluxe color), Greg Gardiner; editor, Westby; music, Michael Allen Harrison; production designer, Rebecca Moon Wolf; costume designer, Jane Talbot; sound, Terry Hoffman, Daniel Palin, Spence Palermo; casting, Nannette Troutman. Reviewed at Hollywood Film Festival (competing), Aug., 8, 1999. Running time: 95 MIN.

With: With: Melik Malkasian, Steven Clark Pachosa, Barbara Niven, Kelly Tallent, Michael Fetters, Jay Leggett.

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