Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

Ew. All Iím saying is that I have cousins and if you take a step back some of my cousins are pretty hot butÖ ew. Thatís all Iím saying. Now the hotness of a few of my cousins is relevant because this would be the launching point for writer / director Amyn Kaderaliís film ĎKissing Cousinsí which is about a young manís tireless search for love and kind of stumbling across that love in the visage of his first cousin. Ew.

Amir (Samrat Chakabarti) is a young Los Angelino who makes his living as a professional break-up artist. You hire Amir and he will visit your out of favor significant other and sever all ties for you, for a nominal fee. Now I got nothing but mad respect for Amir and his chosen profession, but considering the efficiency apartment he lives in and the Geo Metro that he drivesÖ the brother needs a higher paying gig.

When heís not breaking hearts, Amir spends his spare time masturbating to porn and hanging out with his married friends Tucker (P.J. Bryne), Liz (Lauren Stamile), Tuckerís promiscuous sister Bridget (Rachael C. Smith) and his best friend from way back Charlie (Zack Ward). But Charlie has surprised Amir by announcing his marriage to Earth Girl Tina (Nikki McCauley) with the bigger surprise being that Amir has been booted from Best Man status due to the Earth Girlís negative relationship vibe she feels emanating from Amirís psyche.

Anyway circumstances force Amir up the coast to visit his family for Thanksgiving Holiday and after meeting the odd cast of characters that are living at his house he stumbles upon his cousin Zara (Rebecca Hazelwood), who he last saw twenty or so years ago taking a shovel to his dome. The British born Zara is just doing some couch surfing, traveling across the U.S., when Amirís mother suggests that her next stop be

with her cousin in L.A.  Amir is at first resistant but what the hell, and now the two are fast friends hanging out in Los Angeles. Zara, ever the prankster, upon meeting Amirís friends pretends to be his girlfriend which brings Amirís friends much joy because now they can include him in their little couple events.

The thing is these two cute kids have a lot of fun together. They talk and hang out and laugh and seem to have a lot in common. They might even be having too much fun. There was that night after that partyÖ ew. It looks like Amir may finally have found The One, despite the genetic drawbacks of this situation. Or maybe he hasnít. Some cultures, as Amir points out, donít mind this kind of nasty thing. Ours would not be one of these cultures. Or his for that matter.

ĎKissing Cousinsí is a romantic comedy, this is true. But weíre not going to hold that against this movie because there were times it was pretty darned funny. I gotta admit that the concept of an intimate relationship with a close family member, outside of the genre of pornography, is a bit skeevy but director Kaderali handles this probably about as well as it could be handled. Thereís even some question as to whether or not Amir and ZaraÖ ew. I do wonder though, do people really get so drunk that they forget like what mightíve happened eight hours ago. I mean Iíve been drunk before. Iíve been so drunk where Iíve actually vomited out one of my kidneys. Had to cut myself open and it sew back in, but I remember everything that happened the night before. I mightíve pretended I donít remember dry humping my bossís wife on the dance floor at the Christmas party, but I do remember it.

Since ĎKissing Cousinsí is a romantic comedy it does not stray from convention and follows the basic rules of RomCom form and function almost to the letter with a few notable exceptions. The film is filled with the various wacky characters that often fill up a RomCom type joint, including an always welcome Jaleel White sighting who we will one day mention without also mentioning the character Steve Urkel in the same sentence. One day this will happen for Mr. White. Samrat Chakrabarti and Rebecca Hazelwood are both good looking and effective leads in this film and they even have a little chemistry together which does help further that whole horrific first cousin lust concept.

Not of all of the jokes worked and the movie did stagnate here and there, but if you can get past the fact that a man maybe or maybe not had sex with his first cousin, and that this was supposed to be funny in some way, ĎKissing Cousinsí is a light, breezy and often jovial entry into the long stale genre of the Romantic Comedy.

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