The German film “Family Commitments” has more than enough elements for a modern farce.
David, who is Jewish, wants to marry Khaled, who is afraid to tell his Palestinian Muslim family he’s gay. David’s art gallery is piling up debt while he desperately tries to get his one successful painter to halt his hedonism long enough to produce a few canvases.
Khaled’s sexual-predator female boss keeps trying to jump him while he prepares for his certification exam as a P.E. teacher. David’s anti-Arab, stereotypically interfering mother, Lea — she never hesitates to use her own key to David and Khaled’s apartment — is determined to evict Khaled’s father from the family restaurant he runs in a building owned by the Hannover Jewish community.
Then the Jewish girl David unknowingly impregnated almost nine months earlier while black-out drunk arrives to push the ridiculousness over the top.
It’s a fun if lightweight setup, appropriate for the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival’s ACCESS-backed young professionals night. Unfortunately, there’s only enough plot to carry a half-hour short, not an 85-minute feature.
As soon as pregnant Sarah arrives and reveals that she’s an art student, we know where the movie is going. The twists and gags padding the run time are funny, but they also slow the natural flow of the film.
Don’t go to “Family Commitments” expecting any profound insights into Jewish-Muslim relations, marriage equality, homophobia or family ties, and don’t worry if your attention drifts at times. Just go to have some laughs and a cocktail or two with friends, and take away an appreciation that your own Jewish mother is far less controlling than Lea.