Nina's Heavenly Delights
You would think that food, sex, songs and cross-cultural comedy would make for a winning cinematic recipe, but in "Nina's Heavenly Delights" the tasty ingredients add up to an indigestible whole. This tale of an Indian woman's efforts to save her family's Glasgow restaurant is so overly cutesy and precious that it squanders audience goodwill long before its conclusion.
The title character (Shelley Conn) fled her native Glasgow, as well as the fiance (Raji James) she ditched right before her wedding three years earlier. She returns for her father's funeral, only to find the family's Indian restaurant, the New Taj, on the verge of being lost thanks to an ill-advised bet. Determined to save the day, she enters the restaurant in a televised curry cooking contest, with predictably madcap results.
Featuring Bollywood-style musical numbers courtesy of Nina's drag queen best friend Bobbi (Ronny Jhutti); a lesbian romance between Nina and another chef (Laura Fraser) that is depicted in a decorous, fade-to-black manner; recurring appearances by the ghost of Nina's father; family conflict courtesy of her sternly disapproving mother and other plot elements too numerous to mention, the film from writer Andrea Gibb and director Pratibha Parmar, displays undeniable heart but little finesse.
The female leads are gorgeous, and the sheer exoticism of the setting provides some interest. But this combination of melodrama, comedy, music and romance eventually falls under the weight of its endlessly stereotypical characters, dialogue and situations.