50 Kilos of Cherries

A bride given to a wealthy older groom by her father has her wedding overturned when it is discovered that the older groom is a con man and grifter. The wedding is already high-tension due to the morality police in the street, that the father is pretty sure he bribed, and when the groom opens fire to make his escape, chaos ensues. (Chaos including the upsetting of a tray of cherry juice, the 50 kilos of the title, presumably.) The bride’s best maid, Aida, rushes her off the scene, while Davoud, the best friend of the guy who wanted to marry the bride before dad got suckered, is trying to manage his escape and perhaps rendezvous with the bride.

But first, he has to change out of his clothes, which are covered in cherry juice.

Or at least reasonably warm chuckles.

Hilarity ensues.

Well, before you know it, he’s running around in a woman’s long coat in the streets of Tehran, being chased after by the morality police. He ends up in Aida’s car and—I’ll bet you didn’t know this—the Tehran morality police really frown upon men being in women’s cars alone, to say nothing of the whole “dressed in women’s clothes” thing. Rather heroically, Aida claims that they’re married, and that’s when our adventure starts.

This, by the way, is a Persian romantic comedy.

The complications arise when they go to the justice ministry and sit before some guy—he’d be sort of like a religious D.A. here, or pre-trial arraigning justice, perhaps—who decides he doesn’t like their story and asks if the wedding is registered. The fast-thinking but increasingly irritated Aida says they haven’t had a chance to register yet, and so the crafty official tells them they have to register by tomorrow, or he’ll go after them. This presents trouble for Aida, who is supposed to be going to Canada with her fiancee in a week, and for Davoud, because his girlfriend’s a straight-up dominatrix. (Seriously, her over-the-top performance, and the writing of her role is one of the highlights of the film.)

I know I do!

What? You don’t carry nunchakus to resolve traffic disputes, too?

Since this is, apparently, a more-or-less common occurrence in Iran, Aida’s family has a notary they go to for this sort of thing, so they plan to get married that day, and have it annulled the next, so they can go on with their lives. The notary was at the opening wedding, too, and he’s a very, very old and very, very unwell man.

You can see where this is going, can’t you?

Yeah, it's...telegraphed.

’cause they were sure surprised.

Well, sure enough, a series of mishaps forces Aida and Davoud to spend more and more time together, whereby they realize they’re far more compatible with each other than they are with their betrothed. Aida’s boyfriend’s kind of a wet noodle—I mean, hell, he’s emigrating to Canada, amiright?—whereas, as her fake husband, Davoud takes a much more protective role. Meanwhile, dominatrix girl is just way too scary for a nice guy like Davoud.

Because this is Iran, there’s even a touching walk by a body of water, which turns out to be a literal minefield.

It was very cute, very charming, nice performances all around. A good enough exposition of life in Iran that it made me curious how it made it past the censors: Bribery, incompetent officials, couples being celebrated for following their hearts rather than doing what their parents want. But several scenes are outdoors, and it’s clearly not America, or these guys have a budget that…well, that they clearly didn’t have. It didn’t quite look like the Tehran we saw in Jafar Panahi’s Taxi (or any of the other films) but, yeah, I don’t know.

A solid bit of film making. More polished than the wacky Jimmy Vestvood: American Hero, feeling less low-budget and more like a mature film, but with a similar light-heartedness. Recommended.

Can you tell the difference between Persians, Arabs and Jews?

What more could you ask for?

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