PICTURED: Someone being polite (CREDIT: Parisa Taghizadeh/Focus Features)

Starring: Priya Kansara, Ritu Arya, Nimra Bucha, Shobu Kapoor, Ella Bruccoleri, Seraphina Beh, Shona Babayemi, Jeff Mirza, Akshay Khanna

Director: Nida Manzoor

Running Time: 103 Minutes

Rating: PG-13 for Sneaky Bodily Invasiveness

Release Date: April 28, 2023 (Theaters)

What’s It About?: Ria Khan (Priya Kansara) has her heart set on becoming a big-time martial artist. She frequently writes fan letters to her idol, iconic English stunt professional Eunice Huthart, but she’s mostly a voice crying out in the dark. Her friends Alba (Ella Bruccoleri) and Clara (Seraphina Beh) are pretty much the only ones who will give her flights of fancy the time of day. Her parents (Shobu Kapoor, Jeff Mirza) totally don’t understand her at all, while her older sister Lena (Ritu Arya) is moving on to more adult pursuits, like dropping out of art school to marry some rich guy named Salim (Akshay Khanna). But Ria has major doubts about this dude, and she’s also detecting major supervillain energy emanating from his too-perfect mom (Nimra Bucha). Everybody assumes that Ria is just letting her imagination get out of hand, but despite her propensity for shenanigans, she might just be on to something.

What Made an Impression?: I’ve gotta say, after watching Polite Society, I don’t think it would be unreasonable to declare that Priya Kansara deserves to be a star.  As Ria, she has to commit fully to being a selfish control freak, and it’s often difficult to watch such an exhausting character. But Kansara manages to make her bearable. Not just bearable but frequently amusing! It certainly helps that the story becomes more fanciful as it moves along and that Ria’s suspicions are mostly vindicated. But even if that weren’t the case, Kansara still has a knack for being compelling while falling on her face, literally and metaphorically.

She also plays well with others, as the most memorable scenes are the farcical heists that Ria pulls off with Alba and Clara, as well as Ria’s bully-turned-ally Kovacs (Shona Babayemi). The first involves some light computer hacking and an ambush of Salim at the gym, while the follow-up is the climactic showdown at Lena and Salim’s wedding. Ridiculous Disguises + Always Having Each Others’ Backs = Some Good Silly Fun. In conclusion, Polite Society is a high-energy goof that’s mostly worth checking out.

Polite Society is Recommended If You Like: Never Have I Ever, Stargirl, 80s Action Flicks

Grade: 3 out of 5 Secret Lairs