The Washington Post’s film critic Ann Hornaday said, “Take the star-crossed romance of ‘Romeo and Juliet,’ add some graphic sexual humor a la ‘The 40-Year-Old Virgin’ and toss into the crucible of Middle East politics, and you get ‘David & Layla,’ a frothy little romantic comedy starring David Moscow and Shiva Rose.” I saw other Romeo and Juliet references to this film, so thought I’d give it a try.
It’s a fun little indie film, but not much to do about Shakespeare here. Take an angst-filled New York Jewish boy and throw him in the path of an amazingly-lovely Kurdish Iraqi Muslim refugee on the verge of being deported and you have the makings of a Romeo and Julietesque rom-com, but they really take a different track with the film, and that’s fine.
There are some very funny scenes as the love affair between David (Moscow) and Layla (Rose) unfolds, although I found parts of the movie dragged on a bit. Note to parents, there are some sexual situations and drug use in the film, so it’s not one for the kids.
The lone homage to Shakespeare that I noticed in the film is a very funny balcony scene where Layla thinks he’s a peeping Tom and bonks David on the head with a broom, knocking him off his ladder. Layla then gives him mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, upsetting her uncle, and giving her aunt time to notice something happening under David’s zipper. That’s the Muslim family’s intro to the young man that’s interested in Layla!
These are not star-crossed lovers in any sense. Although they come from different backgrounds and have to deal with religious/cultural differences in their families, there are no insurmountable challenges to their relationship, and
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there’s a happy ending!
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