Ravi Patel is a 29-year-old actor in L.A.; his sister Geeta is his director, and Meet the Patels is something of a home movie.
Unable to imagine adult life without recreating the large, tight-knit Indian family in which he grew up, Ravi breaks up with his white girlfriend and tries traditional Indian matchmaking.
His loving parents (who never knew of the girlfriend's existence) are still happy after their arranged marriage 30 years ago and argue quite convincingly that the old ways work best – but Ravi was born in the United States.
His quest for a mate, full of warm family scenes plus a bit of amusing animation to dilute the talking heads, is entertaining enough but grows a bit repetitious as the unsuccessful dates pile up.
This highly personal and lighthearted documentary gives some social context but never dives deep on the potentially devastating cultural divide it is exploring.
Worst of all, Ravi never lets Geeta's camera follow him on a date.