Shirin in Love Nazanin Boniadi, Riley Smith, Maz Jobrani. Directed by Ramin Niami. Not rated. Opens Friday.
Theoretically, what makes low-budget romantic comedy Shirin in Love distinctive is the Iranian-American background of its title character (Nazanin Boniadi), but the movie’s depiction of Iranian-American culture in LA is about as nuanced as Shahs of Sunset. Shirin’s overbearing, heavily Botoxed mother could have stepped right out of that Bravo show, and her clueless but well-meaning fiancé (Maz Jobrani) is, of course, a plastic surgeon. Shirin instead falls for a soulful writer (Riley Smith), for no apparent reason other than that they’re the main characters in a romantic comedy. TV veteran Boniadi (Homeland, How I Met Your Mother) tries valiantly to make Shirin’s quirks believable, but writer-director Ramin Niami saddles her with more stilted dialogue and muddled motivation than she can overcome. From the choppy pacing to the grating soundtrack to the flat visual style, Shirin in Love fails on almost every level. Iranian-Americans and romantic comedies both deserve better.