It would be unwise to consider Four Lions a movie that has much to say about radical Islam or the threat of terrorism. Instead, think of it as Airheads, except that instead of the idiots wanting to get their song played on the radio, the idiots want to blow themselves up. Though Chris Morris' very funny movie revolves around a cell of hapless would-be terrorists, its chief concerns, and strengths, have little to do with ideology—and everything to do with comedy. Omar (Riz Ahmed) is a security guard whose sweet wife and son ask him constantly how his plans for jihad are going. Despite a failed trip to a training camp in Pakistan—where real terrorists call Omar "fucking Mr. Beans"—he has managed to recruit a gang of like-minded radicals, all of them building bombs for the final conflagration. Among the broad comic types that make up Omar's band of numbskulls—the dimwit, the blowhard, the rich kid—funniest of all is sheepish Fessal (Adeel Akhtar), who quietly admits he'd like to bomb UK pharmacy Boots because "they sell condoms that make you want to bang white girls." And while there are explosions in Four Lions—people die, as well as a sheep and a very unlucky crow—it's the scenes of delightfully witless banter, devised by Morris and his three co-writers, that are the film's real special effects.
Would-be Fessal (Akhtar) suffers a setback.
Opens at Varsity, Fri., Nov. 5. Rated R. 102 minutes.