I meant to say 'In Russia,' but things have changed so much since Yakoff Smirnoff's heyday. Russia's average standard of living's probably much better than us now, but hey! Now WE'RE the ones wiretapping ourselves! Kewl. I feel more comfortable in a bugged room, anyway. And while Man Push Cart seems like a breath of fresh air to the rest of the critics, it seems more like a training film to me. But it looks like they spared almost no expense on actual film, instead of springing for the easy lure of that crappy, streaky digital video that doesn't look as good, but MUST be much less expensive than the ol' quicksilver gelatin stuff.
Indeed, Ahmad's plight is America's plight in general, as we once held greatness in our past and in our youth, but we squandered it all away for family and the stability of a working class job. In mean ol' New York City, no less! Unfortunately, Ahmad's not much more successful in his personal life as he is in his professional life, but he manages to not get hit by cars, buses or garbage trucks as he pulls his cart from locale to locale PRACTICALLY IN THE MIDDLE OF THE STREET!!!!!!! Still bitten by the showbiz bug, apparently, as he used to be a Pakistani rock star.
As I watched Man Push Cart, I was vaguely reminded of the student films of yesteryear, with their average cinetomagraphy and the less-than-stellar acting. Many of the plot details go nowhere... oops! Spoiler alert. I'll try not to give too much more away. A rich friend comes into Ahmad's life, as does a cute girl who works at the newsstand down the street. And a kitten! Will the cute girl fall for Ahmad or the rich douchebag? Will Ahmad get over the loss of his wife? Will the tiny squeaking kitten grow up to be a proud lion? Needless to say, being a cat person myself, I didn't care for the way that last one turned out. I understand that Ahmad's plight is the stuff great dramas are made of, but somehow I needed a little more hope, or a little more plot, or something. SPOILER ALERT: The plot takes a turn similar to The Bicycle Thief on top of everything else. Basically, no earth-shattering revelations here: work still sucks, but New York seems to be a great place to sell some coffee and bagels. How soon can I move there?
I will say that even though the film's from 2005 it seemed like it was made today. I thought it was from 2009! For what that's worth...
A Snapple / Toys 'R Us Co-Production
Good double bill with: Anvil!
-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan