Friday, May 26, 2006


A new Jewish-themed movie is out.

A review:-

When first seen, Daniel (Ash Newman), the insufferable teenage playboy hero of Caroline Roboh's "Shem," is breaking off concurrent relationships with an older woman (portrayed by Ms. Roboh, who also wrote and produced) and her son. Sexual adventure — which here comes off as clumsy rather than racy — is the force that drives him, as he prances around London thinking he's God's gift to man and woman.

But his freewheeling existence is put into question when his eccentric grandmother (Hadassah Hungar Diamant), the one person he genuinely cares for, sends him on a wild-goose chase to locate her father's grave.

Traveling through Paris, Berlin, Prague, Budapest, Belgrade in Serbia and Sofia in Bulgaria, he learns a thing or two about life, most poignantly that feelings of true romantic love can exist, even for someone who can't reciprocate. He also receives valuable history lessons about his Jewish heritage, which in the past meant very little to him.

Daniel's character transformation, however limited (he ranges from complete to partial arrogant jerk), is far more credible than any of the film's half-baked attempts at morphing into a conspiracy thriller involving his great-grandfather. By the time the frustratingly silly ending arrives, it's confirmed that "Shem," which translates to "name" in Hebrew, is just as confused as its protagonist. Daniel's looks may charm everyone who crosses his path, but he is like the movie: most of the depth that does exist remains buried beneath the surface.

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