ENTERTAINMENT STATION [Mahatet Al-Ons] (1985).
I'll never forget this unapologetically-stupid, Egyptian musical-comedy. Because the last time I experienced such pain was when I ate a plateful of bad clams at Coney Island. Only a truly special motion picture can do that type of damage to one's digestive tract, and after 115 minutes, I began to wonder if this was actually an insidious Middle Eastern plan to shrivel our will to survive...Much of the movie is set in the middle of the desert, along a nearly empty strip of roadway, at a gas station poking out of the sand like a blackhead. Their only problem? They have no gas to sell. So while owner Ramadan (badly) plays his accordion and dreams of selling his pile of (horrible) songs, his oafish worker Fuad keeps the place open by scattering nails over the road and fixing their flats. Are you laughing yet? If you are, it's only at the thought that I wasted two hours of my life on this crap, instead of you... It's not as if the convoluted plot really matters, but here it is, for the record. A wealthy slob named Tolba is hot (and I would be too, under all those layers of fat) for a local dancer, Miss Sahar, who dreams of stardom and begins sucking up to movie mega-star Wahid Yusri (who looks like any NYC cabbie, except for his Tony Orlando perm). After awhile, everyone converges at Ramadan's place, and 'wackiness ensues.' First, Yusri blows out all four tires, which gives Ramadan a chance to get the guy piss-drunk, and then show off his 850 accordion tunes. And when Ramadan isn't being henpecked by his sister, Sahar poses as his wife, in response to her brother and uncle's anger that she's disgraced them by becoming a dancer. Best of all, a biker gang suddenly rolls into the station, announces they're staying the night, and breaks into a song 'n' dance number about how the land belongs to everyone. Of course, all of the plot strands take a saccharine turn by the end, with everyone falling in love and devoting themselves to God. Wow! What a load!... The musical numbers are excruciating, and register just a notch above a Kathy Lee Gifford Xmas special. As for the acting? My guess is that the cast learned from watching bootleg imports of HEE HAW. Directed by Hassan Ibrahim and starring Lebleba, Said Saleh and Samir Ghanem (according to my source, all quite famous in their homeland), this make BIO-DOME look like it was written by Noam Chomsky.
© 1998 by Steven Puchalski.