What’s Love Got to Do with It? is a comedy about a documentary filmmaker and an arranged marriage. Zoe (Lily James) and Kazim (Shazad Latif) grew up as next door neighbors. They’re in their 30s now and both sets of parents are impatient to get them married off. Kazim announces that he’ll follow the Pakistani tradition of letting his parents arrange a match for him. Zoe decides to make a film about it.
What’s Love Got to Do with It? has plenty of colorful characters, many questions about love and assisted marriages, and a totally predictable outcome. But it’s fun getting to that outcome.
Growing up side by side, Zoe and Kazim were best friends. Now he’s a doctor and she’s making documentaries. They are still good friends. She needs a new idea for a film to pitch to her producers and Kazim surprises her and his parents by deciding to let them pick a wife for him. Zoe convinces them to let her film the whole thing.
Zoe’s mother (a flaky Emma Thompson) and Kazim’s mother (Shabana Azmi) are close as well. Zoe’s mom feels quite at home in the Pakistani world of her friend’s house and enjoys participating in the food and culture. I wish I’d had the opportunity to see Shabana Azmi in more films – she’s at least as fabulous as Emma Thompson. Most of her credits come from India.
In the process of making the film and interviewing all the families involved, Zoe uncovers some uncomfortable family secrets. She also realizes that the lovely young Pakistani woman Kazim’s parents found for him is not what she seems. She wants to warn her friend not to marry the woman, but he is determined.
Some of the comedy involved in the film comes from the fairy tales that Zoe tells her two nieces when she babysits them. They are nothing like the actual fairy tales, but reflect the condition of Zoe’s love life. She’s had terrible luck with men, but finally agrees to date a veterinarian her mother set her up with. She’s not crazy about him, but he’s good enough. Her despair comes out in her storytelling.
The film is colorful and bright. The traditional wedding in Pakistan is portrayed with love and enthusiasm.
You’ll be able to see the end coming a mile away, but I won’t spoil it here. It’s a comedy, so expect an ending that satisfies the itch you’ll have all the way through the film.
You can see the film on Hulu or rent it on Prime.