starring Lisa Ray and Rahul Khanna
3 stars

Bollywood is in Bombay. Hollywood is in Los Angeles. Bollywood/Hollywood, meanwhile, is in Toronto. Is Toronto, then, to be the site of that longed-for mystical convergence of cinema idioms, the perfect melding of the wild, musical energy of Indian film and the uh... um... er.. whatever it is of American movies?

Nothing so ambitious, sadly. That's not to say that Bollywood/Hollywood isn't an amiable, good-natured film in the Indian style.  It's just that if you're looking for potent East-meets-West culture clash, you're not going to find it. Since it's set in Toronto, East has already met West, they've been living there for years, and they're fabulously wealthy, thanks. Everybody's pretty settled in.

The title, with that little "/" in there, suggests a dialogue between Indian and American movies, but if anything, Bollywood/Hollywood is more like an Indian film primer for Americans. It's like there's a Bollywood Chamber of Commerce rep standing behind the screen going "Hello! Hey! Check it out! Indian cinema!" every couple of minutes, so there are plenty of references to Bollywood film conventions and about a million shots in which giant TVs play Indian movies in the background. And the film itself is Indian in the classic style; that is, it's a light family melodram, it has a slightly goofy sense of humor, and the people in it love to sing, sing, sing. 

The situation is pretty simple. Millionaire Rahul's white fiance dies in a tragic levitation accident. His mother insists his sister can't get married until he's engaged, so when he runs into super-smokin' Sue (Lisa Ray, of Toronto) in a bar, he hires her to be his new fiance. Amid the four or five parties that precede Rahul's sister's wedding, love blooms. Complications set in when he worries about the fact that she's an escort, and if she's Indian enough or at all. Love battles on.

So, nothing terribly mind-shattering about the story, no strange new mysteries of the human heart penetrated, viewers aren't going to fly back in their seats, muscles rigid with shock, as they watch the events unfold. 

Still, a nice movie, with some good gags and plenty of energetic singing. American audiences have to get over their snobby attitude about musicals, and this movie is as good a place as any to start. I mean, you like music right? So what the hell's wrong with everybody takin' five and singin' it up every so often in a movie? Nothing. Plus, as somebody mentions in the film, "it reveals internal monologue." So shut up already.

And, of course, there's the luscious Lisa Ray. Even if there's nothing terribly dramatic or fascinating going on, the movie always keeps her fullsome hotness on constant display, whether she's twirling in a deep blue sari dripping with jewelry or sashying along in slacks and a yummy tight grey Toronto sweater. Okay, sure, a hot girl is no reason in itself to see a movie, unless it's Milla Jovovich, but once you're in the theatre, it's a nice diversion.

I can't actually say anybody should race out and see this movie, but it's not like there's anything else out there demanding your attention. And as a date movie, you could go a lot wronger.

- Stephen Notley