Billed as a riotous comedy musical, Turkish romp Where's Firuze must have lost something in translation. It's not funny, it's not particularly musical, and the only riots it's likely to produce are those of disgruntled punters demanding their money back. In modern day Istanbul, hapless music promoter Hayri (Haluk Bilginer) is on the verge of bankruptcy. He needs a number one hit and he needs it yesterday. Enter Ferhat (Ozcan Deniz), a singer with the voice of a nightingale. Problem solved? Not quite.
With their creditors baying for blood and a trigger-happy debt collector breathing down their necks, Hayri hasn't even got enough cash to cut a demo tape. Just as well then that Ferhat's golden voice is magical enough to capture the attention of Firuze, a rich old widow armed with a bank balance that would make Elton John blush. She wants to be Ferhat's guardian angel, but is she too good to be true?
Commercials director-turned-filmmaker Ezel Akay sets his debut feature in the cutthroat world of Turkish pop music. It's an industry that's ripe for a send-up. All the promoters are bumbling idiots who've got more in common with Del Boy than Pete Waterman. Dressed in the kind of shiny suits that even a TV gameshow host would baulk at, they're amoral thieves who'd sell their grandmother for a shish kebab.
In other hands, this could have been the beginning of a great musical parody - This Is Spinal Tap meets Turkish pop, perhaps? Instead, Akay labours each gag and lets his cast wildly overact while he searches for a punchline that never turns up. Musical numbers, buxom belly dancers, and a deep-throated satanic hitman are thrown in to liven up the dull bits, but there's no hiding the film's glaring flaws. This is one of the most painfully unfunny movies in recent memory. Who cares where Firuze is, we just want to know where all the jokes went.
In Turkish with English subtitles.