Directed by: Sam Garbarski | 96 minutes | comedy | Actors: Moritz Bleibtreu, Patricia Arquette, Danny Pudi, Catherine Missal, Michael Imperioli, Antonia Dauphin, Tania Garbarski, Moni Moshonov, George Akram
Actor Wilhelm (Will) Wilder (Moritz Bleibtreu) plays the role of Bad Luck Bunny every day; a green and unhappy rabbit in a New York children’s program. He also leads a quiet life with his wife Julia (Patricia Arquette) and their daughter Lily. But Will is not really happy, even though he is the interpreter of a beloved child figure.
When he thinks no one has really thought about his birthday, Will gets into a very grumpy mood. He feels like a failure and not taken seriously as an actor by his wife, daughter, friends and colleagues. When he is suddenly declared dead due to a strange turn of events, he seizes the opportunity to be at his own funeral. This way he can hear what his family, friends and colleagues really think of him.
For this, Will enlists the help of his Indian friend Rad (Danny Pudi). This one helps transform him into Vijay Singh, an Indian Sikh and a true gentleman. During “his” funeral, Will hears amazing statements about himself. Most surprisingly, his wife appears to be very attracted to Will’s new me: Vijay. Will then decides to play the sympathetic Indian for longer than one day; he finds life as Vijay more interesting and notices that the Sikh is also much more loved by everyone than his real self… But how long can Will keep appearances?
The metamorphosis from the bored Will to the charming Vijay is fun to watch. Actor Bleibtreu (“Munich”) knows how to play the Indian in a fun, but not too over the top way. As a viewer, he manages to gradually find the Indian more sympathetic than Will himself. Danny Pudi is witty as the witty friend Rad, who still teaches him the customs and mannerisms of a Sikh. For example, the scene where he provides Will with a nice smooth chest is humorous.
Compared to Pudi, Patricia Arquette is not that often funny. The best moments are when Julia advises clients in her position as a relationship therapist. Especially when Julia freaks out when the clients really think she is setting an example for them to tell each other the truth. Apart from this, Arquette’s game is not really interesting for the rest. If you know Arquette mainly for her role as medium Alison duBois from the TV series “Medium”, then you know that the actress has more to offer. While Will and Julia’s daughter has few scenes, actress Catherine Neval is thriving as the teen Lily when she confronts her father in the taxi and tries to cheat him for money.
“Vijay and I” does not have a profound story, but the fact that someone takes the opportunity to attend their own funeral and turns themselves into a completely different person in the process, allowing their wife to fall in love with him again, has been liked. It is a loss that the chemistry between Arquette and Bleibtreu is not really credible. The attraction remains somewhat forced between the two. Only in the last part of the film do they seem to thaw, but then it is actually too late.
Anyone who thinks there is a lot to laugh about at “Vijay and I” is unfortunately wrong. The makers could have won quite a bit in this. For example, that Will as Vijay is more upset about disclosure or does something very absurd about behavior that almost betrays him. There is a quasi crazy act in that Will shakes socks off before putting them on, but that doesn’t make a giggle. “Vijay and I” could use a little more ammunition in terms of both romance and humor, because the film falls short in this regard.