Dough – Movie Review

By Leslie C. Halpern

Dough is a feel-good dramatic comedy set in London that establishes the same old ethnic stereotypes for the first half of the movie before then working to disintegrate them.

Jonathan Pryce and Jerome Holder star in Dough. Copyright 2015 Menemsha Films.

Jonathan Pryce and Jerome Holder star in Dough. Copyright 2015 Menemsha Films.

There’s the grouchy old Jewish widower – still devoted to his dead wife and floundering kosher bakery – who refuses to change with the times. There’s the easily manipulated young black Muslim man who resorts to criminal activity because as an immigrant he can’t find a legitimate job. There’s the scheming corporate executive who cares about money far more than tradition or quality. There’s also the menacing drug lord always lurking around the corner, either luring young disenfranchised men into a life of crime or violently attempting to retrieve his money or product.

After taking some time to establish these tiresome stereotypical characters, the story finally starts to get interesting. Nat (Jonathan Pryce) despairs about the lack of customers in his bakery, but becomes downright angry when his apprentice quits his job to work at a higher paying gig to support his growing family. Determined to retain the bakery started by his father, Nat keeps working despite his son’s encouragement to retire and sell the shop.

Magic Egg Bread

In an effort to keep the business going, Nat hires Ayyash (Jerome Holder), a seemingly nice teenaged boy from Darfur who secretly sells marijuana. One day his stash falls into the mixing dough and gets cooked into the challah. Soon everybody wants more challah from the bakery. The success of this unexpected magic egg bread helps the two males bond until authorities become suspicious about the bread’s contents. Meanwhile, the corporate executive wants to buy the shop to expand his new grocery superstore.

Old traditions come head-to-head with new ideas, and Jew and Muslim work side by side in harmony. It’s somewhat predictable and only somewhat likable. Pryce and Holder carry the film through solid performances that bring their characters to life, but could have excelled with fresher material. Dough has thin slices of comedy, but overall the subject matter is dealt with in a serious — though superficial — manner that never quite rises to the occasion.

Dough

  • A Kosher bakery owner bonds with a young Muslim drug dealer who serves as his apprentice at the shop in a relationship that helps both men improve their lives.
  • Stars: Jonathan Pryce, Pauline Collins, Jerome Holder, Ian Hart, Philip Davis, Malachi Kirby
  • Director: John Goldschmidt
  • Genre: Comedy/Drama
  • Run Time: 94 minutes
  • MPAA Rating: Not Rated