A cute premise and an attention-getting title can't lend sophomore helmer Subhash Kapoor's "With Love to Obama" enough traction to overcome an uneven tone and an excess of bowel humor.

A cute premise and an attention-getting title can’t lend sophomore helmer Subhash Kapoor’s “With Love to Obama” enough traction to overcome an uneven tone and an excess of bowel humor. Tale of a bankrupt Indian emigre returning home and getting kidnapped by a hierarchy of gangsters plays broadly with stereotypes, spoofing the idea of the American success story but lacking the tightness to make this more than a forgettable diversion. Positive press at home following a December opening couldn’t completely overcome the nation’s wariness of low-budget affairs, though pic may prove popular with expats in ancillary.

The recession wipes out Indian-American businessman Om (Rajat Kapoor, the only non-caricature), so to forestall repossession, he goes back to India to sell the family manse. Gang leader Bhaisaab (Sanjay Mishra), thinking he can charge a huge ransom, has Om kidnapped by bungling, Obama-loving henchman Anni (Manu Rishi), only to learn the guy’s broke. Om suggests they maintain the myth of his wealth and sell him to more powerful gangsters. Good-natured ribbing, heavy on malapropisms, send up both India and America, but the aim is dulled by lowbrow farce. Visuals are standard.

With Love to Obama

India

Production

A Revel Films production. (International sales: Mirchi Movies, Mumbai.) Produced by Ashok Pandey. Executive producer, Naren Kumar. Directed, written by Subhash Kapoor.

Crew

Camera (color), Arvind Kannabiran; editor, Sandeep Singh Bajeli; music, Manish J. Tipu; production designer, Gautam Sen; costume designer, Veera Kapur. Reviewed at Cannes Film Festival (market), May 11, 2011. Running time: 108 MIN.

With

Rajat Kapoor, Neha Dhupia, Sanjay Mishra, Manu Rishi, Pragati Pandey, Sumit Nijhawan, Amit Sial, Amole Gupte, Brijendra Kala, Sushil Pandey, Devender Chaudhary, Surendra Rajan, Dinesh Nag. (Hindi dialogue)

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