The Tiger Hunter (2016) – Danny Pudi (Abed from the cult sitcom Community) plays an engineer who travels from his village in India, where he runs the local electronic repair shop, to Chicago to take a high-paying position in an American firm. He’s determined to live up to the reputation of his father, revered in his village as a brave tiger hunter. It’s the 1970s and he’s ready to take his shot at the American dream.
Instead, he gets the immigrant experience starting from the bottom. The job is no longer available and he’s left taking whatever he can and renting a spot in an apartment overcrowded with overqualified professionals from India working as taxi drivers, waiters, and dog walkers. As far as anyone back home knows, he’s a success, and when he discovers that the military officer father of his girlfriend back home is taking her to America to interview potential husbands, his friends team up to make him appear a big American success complete with mansion and servants.
It’s a fun immigrant story with moments of comic fantasy and screwball coincidence (because of course your eccentric buddy is also a millionaire in hiding). Director/co-writer Lena Khan enjoys setting and knocking down stereotypes, even if she doesn’t ever quite transcend them or the themes of her story: be true to yourself, be generous with others, be honest and open. Fine life lessons, to be sure, and an entertaining underdog story that embraces community and friendship to overcome problems. The generosity of spirit and the likable characters help ease the familiarity of the journey. Rizwan Manji, a memorable character actor familiar from dozens of TV shows and movies, and Jon Heder co-star as the best friends.
Not rated, fine for most audiences, no profane scenes or language.
On DVD and Blu-ray from Shout! Factory, with a featurette.