Appropriately for March Madness, this week’s film is about what happens when petty, short-sighted megalomaniacs control frighteningly destructive weapons in ways that are in no way reflective of the reality we currently live in.
With Iran and Israel on the brink of nuclear war, it’s up to two teen girls, a hacker, a German, and a falafel truck to save the world.
Present-day Israel. Secret underground bunker. Scale model of the desert with…toy planes? Though all of the elements of a spy thriller are there (including sinister eye patches and intimidating beards), it’s clear early on that the men assembled are a bunch of bumbling fools. Unfortunately, they may be just unhinged enough to end life on Earth as we know it.
Convinced of Iran’s plans to unleash nuclear war, the Israeli military decides they must strike first with their own secret nuclear weapons. The catch? They have only a matter of days to strike, and must first survive a visit from a UN-type committee examining their nuclear facilities. The plan is to fool the inspectors and then proceed to annihilating Iran (and likely a significant chunk of other countries in the process).
Ha ha ha…ha?
Since we’ve taken care of the “atomic” part of the title, on to the falafel. Mimi and her teenage daughter, Nofar, run a falafel truck whose main business comes from following the military around during maneuvers and offering the only meal option for miles around. Pretty nifty strategy.
Helping with the business is taking a toll on Nofar, who is falling behind in class, letting her short temper get the best of her, and making no progress with her cautious hacker boyfriend. In an effort to distract Mimi from her daughter’s shortcomings, Nofar is determined to set her up with a new man.
Enter Oli, stage right–the German member of the visiting committee and, coincidentally, the only moderately good looking one. After Mimi’s overly spicy food sends Oli to the hospital, he conveniently recovers at her house. While Mimi and Oli bond, they are unaware that the Israeli government wants Oli out ASAP, even attempting to blackmail Mimi into persuading him to leave.
Meanwhile, Nofar has befriended Sharareh, a teen girl who has recently moved to a small town in Iran. Initially trying to get help with her family tree project, Nofar really connects with Sharareh and discovers she’s an aspiring rapper.
It just gets even more bananas from here on out, with government officials hacking into Nofar’s Facebook account in an attempt to humiliate her. She gets the last laugh when a CD with important codes falls into her hands. That is, until she realizes that just as Israel plans to strike in a matter of days, Iran will do the same. Worse, Israel will strike Sharareh’s hometown.
How will this group of meddling kids prevent nuclear disaster when they’re the only ones acting like adults?
3.5/5 Pink Panther Heads
Taking many cues from Dr. Strangelove, this film is a fun, silly romp. I half expected several characters to tear off their masks to reveal Peter Sellers. However, this is significantly more optimistic with some moments of very dark humor and absurd satire.
This may also be the most positive depiction of social media I’ve ever seen on screen. Facebook and even this sort of Chatroulette type thing where Nofar and Sharareh meet have the power to bring people together across difference here, rather than devolving into the usual festering mass of extremist hate groups we all know and love.
I should’ve jumped on this film when it came out as it would’ve been funnier 3 years ago–or really at any point when the US leadership wasn’t threatening other unhinged narcissists with annihilation every other week.
I honestly do believe if anything can bring us world peace, it’s falafel.