Review: ‘The Baby Doll Night’

"The Baby Doll Night" attempts to explain Egyptian anti-Israeli sentiment along with bitterness over American foreign policy by drawing parallels to everything from 9/11 to the Holocaust.

Helmer Adel Adeeb’s jaw-dropping extravaganza “The Baby Doll Night” attempts to explain Egyptian anti-Israeli sentiment along with bitterness over American foreign policy by drawing parallels to everything from 9/11 to the Holocaust (complete with scenes in Theresienstadt concentration camp). Lurching from broad comedy to re-enactments of the Lynndie England photos at Abu Ghraib, pic is a surefire regional hit for maverick shingle Good News (“The Yacoubian Building”), written by vet scripter Abdel Hay Adeeb (the helmer’s dad) and packed with major stars. But by falling far short of international sensitivity, cross-over success is impossible.

Tour leader Houssam (Mahmoud Abdel Aziz) can’t wait to see wife Samiha (Solaf Fawakhergy) after a year apart. With Viagra and a newly bought baby-doll nightie, he flies to Cairo on New Year’s Eve at the same time as wanted terrorist Awadain (Nour El Sherif), who’s set to avenge his castration in Abu Ghraib by blowing up an American delegation led by Sarah (Layla Olwi), the child of a Holocaust survivor, who’s promoting peace through economic ties. Lensing aims for the epic, but the whole is overwhelmed by flashbacks and overstuffed with plot twists.

The Baby Doll Night

Egypt

Production

A Good News Group production. (International sales: Good News Group, Cairo.) Produced by Emad Adeeb. Executive producers, Gaetan Rousseau, Hossam Al Khaimy. Directed by Adel Adeeb. Screenplay, Abdel Hay Adeeb.

Crew

Camera (color, widescreen), Hong Manley; editor, Mona Rabie; music, Yasser Abdel Rahman; production designer, Ayman Fathi; costume designer, Malak Zulfukar. Reviewed at Cannes Film Festival (market), May 19, 2008. Arabic, English dialogue. Running time: 156 MIN.

With

Mahmoud Abdel Aziz, Nour El Sherif, Layla Olwi, Mahmoud Hemeda, Gamal Soliman, Solaf Fawakhergy, Gameel Rateb, Ezzat Abou Ouf, Ghada Abdel Razik, Ola Ghanem, Nicole Saba, Dorra Zarrouck, Ahmed Mekki, Moustafa Hareedy, Said Seddik, Mahmoud El Gendy, Abdel Fattah, Noura Zuhair, Asma El Bakry, Mona Hala, Shehab Ibrahim, Magdy Rashwan, Ranya Helal, Lou Myers, Neville Archambault, Tereza Sokolova, Martin Backovsky, Otta Tesar, Vaclav Chapula, Aneta Cinova.

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