Head to Head a Fun Crime Comedy Romp
Malik Nejer’s live action directorial debut is a light hearted adventure with a pinch of cartoony effects to punctuate certain physical gags, though he drops the social commentary his renowned Masameer show is known for. Adel Radwan and Abdulaziz Alshehri bounce off each other well as the lead characters Darwish and Fayadh, Adel Rawan in particular gets a chance to show his range in the films saddest moment.
The film keeps a brisk pace it doesn’t get bogged down or slow itself outside of it’s emotional beats. The films plot, as is usual for crime comedy’s off it’s vein, gets more and more convoluted as more characters are drawn in on the plans made and as those plans change. Through it all, it never losses sight of its characters and what motivates them managing to weave all of it’s threads together, even a seemingly insignificant henchman early on manages to be important to the over all plot.
The setting puts one foot in reality and one foot in absurdity, you’ll find mundane sleazy chop shop owners alongside master spies that disappear when you turn your head and reappear behind you. This is a setting that has stock market fraud next to generational crime family conspiracies. The protagonists are clearly from the mundane half of the setting and the audience is taken along with them as they discover the more outlandish parts of their world. The films reality makes it an excellent avenue for escapism, a relief from heavier topics and more tragic stories.
The film is without Nejer’s usual social commentary and dark humor, it also avoids illicit imagery, there is no gore but there are the occasional dead bodies. The most risque material is delivered in the form of innuendo and even then as a joke, nothing that would make for uncomfortable group viewing. The film has a TV-MA rating in the U.S though it does not contain any material outside of what is ordinary for a PG-13 film, it’s Saudi rating is a more fitting R15.
There are a few more twists and turns throughout, but all in all the movie is a fun slapstick comedy following the misadventures of amateur criminals out of their depth. A recommended viewing for audiences who aren’t in the mood for dour or heavy film and just want something light and fun to watch.