Raj (Faran Tahir) and Nina (Sheetal Sheth) are first-generation Asian-Indian immigrant children, finding their way in America. Their mother Anju (Madhur Jaffrey) is a tireless meddler in their lives, forever intent on seeing them properly married off to Indian spouses. Obedient Raj seems content with his arranged fiance Tejal (Adriane Forlana Erdos), but Nina rails against being set up with a childhood playmate, Ashok (Assif Mandvi). Their lives are further complicated by a pair of non-Indians, when Nina's ex-fianc Sam (Rex Young) pops up and Raj becomes intrigued by co-worker Julia (Jennifer Dorr White).

Writer/director Krutin Patel has crafted a low-budget but affecting multi-cultural story here. ABCD (which stands for "American Born Confused Desi") is nothing particularly fresh or exciting, but its intentions are so sincere and, for the most part, it's so well-acted that it emerges as quite affecting. Jaffrey is, as always, both warmly human and imperious, playing one more witty variation of a domineering Indian matriarch. Mandvi and Erdos both manage to be very moving as the somewhat bewildered romantic partners of her confused kids. As their Caucasian counterparts, Young has an amusing, rather typical All-American thickheadedness, cluelessly marveling at the cultural traditions at which Nina sticks her nose up, while White brings a poignant delicacy to her role. The film's major weaknesses lie in the performances of Tahir, who is just too bland to inspire much interest, and Sheth, who is forced and monotonous. The pair was obviously cast primarily for their looks, and one ends up caring far less about them than their more complexly drawn lovers.

--David Noh