Tag Archives: Jon Heder

The Tiger Hunter

Sami’s dad, the tiger hunter, was a hero in his village, the most respected and venerated man around. He also made lots of sacrifices so that Sami could get a good education. Now that his father is dead and tiger hunting is done by the poachers, Sami (Danny Pudi) feels the only way to really honour his father’s memory is to move to America.

Unfortunately, the job he was originally offered has evaporated, and Chicago in 1979 is full of people just like him. In fact, the apartment in which he lives has 11, maybe 13 men with advanced degrees and no real jobs. That makes his plans for impressing Ruby’s The_Tiger_Hunter_2-e1486337559708-1540x811father much, much harder. Ruby is the dream girl he left back home in India. Her father is tough to impress and insists she marry someone successful in America. Sami takes a lowly position but needs to ascend quickly; he makes a friend in Alex (Jon Heder), who may not be the best person to attach his star to at work, but who offers insight on how to be a “professional American.”

The immigrant experience has so many stories to tell, and though we’ve got no shortage of immigrant movies, we’re still only scratching the surface. There’s a lot to admire in anyone willing to work so hard and dream so big just to have what most of us were born with, but few of these movies are also as funny as The Tiger Hunter is.

Director Lena Kahn makes her directorial debut with this film, which she’s also co-written. This being light-hearted fare, it doesn’t dwell too much on the difficulties of Sami’s coming to America, but it deals in enough cultural specificity and colourful detail that it feels both homey and true. And it’s also sort of fun to re-experience American culture, 1970s style, through a distinctly Indian lens. Tika masala and bell bottoms like you’ve never seen them before, all serving as a backdrop to a bunch of unemployed but brilliant engineers working together on the quintessential 1970s invention: the microwave. Who but a tiger hunter’s son would have the stripes?

 

Ghost Team

A man obsessed with the paranormal (Napolean Dynamite himself, Jon Heder) decides to put together a “crack” team, including Justin Long, Amy Sedaris, and David Krumholtz,┬áto do a little ghost-hunting himself.

27-ghost-team_w1200_h630The team are meant to be losers and comically so, but that doesn’t explain away the incredibly bad acting, particularly by Justin Long who was never great to begin with but now has fallen down into the boggy ditch-water of has-been celebrities.

You may remember Justin Long’s brief time in the sun: 2006-2009. He’s Just Not That Into You was probably the pinnacle of, and the virtual end of, his career. The world just wasn’t that into him anymore. He’s continued to work, sporadically, nearly invisibly, in pity projects that his old friends throw him, like scraps to a dog. And god knows he does have those puppy dog eyes. But even among the B-listers in this movie, he’s a stand-out bathed in a spotlight of inferiority.

Anyway, the one interesting thing about this movie is that it fails on so many levels: it fails to be a juicy ghost story, it fails to be a decent horror, and it definitely fails to be remotely funny. It’s ostensibly trying to make fun of those paranormal “reality” shows but doesn’t have a goddamn thing to say about it, really. The jokes are paper thin. There’s a third act twist that’s almost good fun but they misuse it by throwing it in beyond the point of our caring. Most people will have turned Ghost Team off well before they ever see it. And truly, it’s not worth hanging in for. Nothing is. This straight-to-video waste of time is better left unwatched.