Stories of immigrant life are more important than ever. It's a shame, then, when such stories are told in a predictable fashion. The Tiger Hunter, a 1979-set drama about a young aspiring engineer who emigrates to Chicago from India, relies too heavily on cutesy, perfunctory period references. The outfits look straight out of a cheap 70s Halloween costume kit, but the colors onscreen are too bright and digital to feel period appropriate, and when a character mentions The Dukes of Hazard it doesn't do much more than elicit a small nod of recognition. The film follows a familiar plot: Sami (Danny Pudi) tries to make it in America and experiences culture shock, but everything works out pretty much okay. At a fountain, where Sami offers a bit of pointed social commentary in his observation that Americans are casually willing to throw money away, he meets another immigrant and moves in with him and his affable roommates -- who all share a single bed.
The men work together to figure out how to engineer a microwave (yet another reminder that it's the 70s), impressing Sami's boss at the company where he works as a lowly draughtsman. We don't get much in the way of Sami's psychology; his father (the tiger hunter), died when he was young, and the flashbacks to Sami's childhood seem to come from a different movie, one that might focus more on hero worship and self-actualization and present a more unique perspective than this rather watered-down portrait of the immigrant experience. Immigrant stories certainly don't demand tragedy to be legitimate, but The Tiger Hunter, with its pastiche of fish-out-of-water comedy and pointy collared shirts, ultimately feels weightless.
Lena KhanDanny Pudi, Rizwan Manji, Jon Heder, Karen David, Kevin PollakSameer Asad Gardezi, Lena KhanShout! Factory