CREDIT: Shout! Factory

This review was originally posted on News Cult in September 2017.

Starring: Danny Pudi, Jon Heder, Rizwan Manji, Karen David, Iqbal Theba, Kevin Pollak

Director: Lena Khan

Running Time: 94 Minutes

Rating: Unrated, But I Would Peg It as a Light PG-13 for the Shenanigans That Arise When a Dozen Men Live Together

Release Date: September 22, 2017 (Limited)

Shout! Factory is primarily known for its home video releases (particularly its Mystery Science Theater 3000 DVD collections), but the company is now branching into theatrical distribution with the release of The Tiger Hunter. Unsurprisingly given its distribution pedigree, this is a film that has the aesthetics and ambitions of a straight-to-DVD release. There is a certain lo-fi charm to the proceedings, thanks mostly to its largely agreeable cast, but with all the other movies that already exist in that, you have to hope that every new one aims high, and this particular movie mostly does not.

The premise commences as young engineer Sami (Community’s Dani Pudi) leaves his native India for the more promising professional and social prospects of 1970s America. So far, so good, so archetypical. Of course, hijinks ensue when the job he was promised turns out to be already filled by the time he arrives, so he is forced to move in with about a dozen other similarly broke and overqualified immigrants in a cramped Chicago apartment. And of course the big reason he is doing all this is so that he can manage to look like marriage material to the father (Iqbal Theba) of his childhood best friend/one true love (Karen David). And of course he is motivated/haunted by the legend of his late father (the pride of the village, thanks to his titular feline slaying). And of course he concocts a Three’s Company-esque scheme to appear more successful than he actually is to potential dad-in-law.

Ultimately, The Tiger Hunter wraps up in the “just be yourself” platitudes typical of not just struggling immigrant stories but also just about every film genre in existence that ever attempts to be inspirational. That lack of originality could be infuriating, but it manages to be bearable, mostly due to Pudi’s ability to earnestly sell lines like “I want to be a professional American” and his knack for claiming with a straight face that Mary Tyler Moore told him he was going to make it after all. If you are an immigrant yourself, you may recognize parts of your story in this movie, but mostly just the lazy afternoons that you spent watching random movies like The Tiger Hunter.

The Tiger Hunter is Recommended If You Like: Danny Pudi Loyalty, Holding out Hope That Jon Heder Still Has Another Hit in Him

Grade: 2 out of 5 Wacky Roommates