Movie Information

In Brief: The closing film for this year's Asheville Jewish Film Festival, Dough, is an unlikely delight. On paper — and to a certain degree, in practice — this sounds like a movie that packs every culture-clash and generation-gap cliche imaginable into one small space. Jonathan Pryce plays Nat, an elderly Jewish baker who refuses to give up his faltering — and beleaguered (yes, there's a villain trying to put him out of business) — bake shop, despite the urgings of his son (Daniel Caltagirone) to retire. (For his part, Nat considers his son a disappointment for not going into the family business.) When Nat's assistant defects to his competitor, Nat ends up hiring a young Muslim, Shaun (Malachi Kirby), whose mother is an old customer. This is not a match made in heaven — or so it seems. However, the bakery becomes unexpectedly successful — all because Shaun drops a bag of marijuana into a batch of dough. And, yes, this all plays out pretty much like you expect, but that's not factoring in a screenplay (by Jez Freedman and Jonathan Benson) that's actually witty, and it's certainly not factoring in the chemistry between Pryce and Kirby. Somehow this becomes at once utterly predictable and wholly charming and entertaining. I don't think you'll be disappointed. It shouldn't work, but it does.
Genre: Comedy-Drama
Director: John Goldschmidt
Starring: Jonathan Pryce, Malachi Kirby, Ian Hart, Philip Davis, Pauline Collins
Rated: NR



Dough is a pokey, cliché-filled, completely unadventurous movie if ever there was one. It’s also impossible to resist. And when I say it’s impossible to resist, bear in mind this is one of those movies that thinks there just can’t be anything cuter than a bunch of old folks accidentally getting high on a batch of pot-laced brownies. That’s the kind of thing that by rights ought to make your toes curl up in embarrassment — and while it’s hardly one of movie’s shining moments, it’s still easy to forgive. I’ve already laid out the plot, and this really isn’t a film that lends itself to much in the way of critical analysis. Its appeal lies in its stars and in its generous, good-hearted nature. Don’t question it, just go with it. You’ll not see anything you haven’t seen before, but you’ll be charmed and entertained and sometimes that’s quite enough.

The Asheville Jewish Film Festival and the Fine Arts Theatre present Dough for two showings — Wed., May 27, at 7 p.m. and Thu., May 28, at 1 p.m. at Fine Arts Theatre.

About Ken Hanke
Head film critic for Mountain Xpress from December 2000 until his death in June 2016. Author of books "Ken Russell's Films," "Charlie Chan at the Movies," "A Critical Guide to Horror Film Series," "Tim Burton: An Unauthorized Biography of the Filmmaker."

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