Here's a rather hilarious title that still floats under the radar for most people I talk to about it. This comes to us from writer/director Chris Morris, who, if you can't quite place the name, played Denholm Reynholm in 'The IT Crowd'. Also, if you've never watched 'IT Crowd', do yourself a favour and check it out - bloody hilarious.
But getting back on track, 'Four Lions' focuses on a group of radicalized British Muslim men living in England who want nothing more than to become suicide bombers. So right away, one might want to think of this as a sort of British 'Team America'. It's very much a satire on the average terrorist mind, and it does it all very unapologetically. One might call it "edgy", but if you know anything about Chris Morris, this will come as no surprise. Also bear in mind that no one actually gets harmed in this movie. A sheep is credited to have been harmed, but be at peace that this is a fake credit.
Among the four are Omar (Riz Ahmed), our story's lead who's very critical of Western society; the bad-tempered Barry (Nigel Lindsay), the token dimwitted character, Waj (Kayvan Novak); and the ever-naive Faisal (Adeel Akhtar). Just to give some faces to these characters, Ahmed was Bodhi Rook in 'Rogue One', Akhtar was Naveed in 'The Big Sick' and Lestrade in the recent 'Enola Holmes', and one might recognize Novak as Nandor in the 'What We Do in the Shadows' series. Lindsay's a bit harder to place as this is the only thing I would probably know him from, but rest assured, his character is one of the best parts of the film; short-tempered at everyone else, but keeps screwing up, himself.
While Omar and Waj "answer the call", and head to a training camp for al Qaeda in Pakistan, Barry attends a conference and recruits a fifth member by the name of Hassan (Arsher Ali - who I'd probably only know from 'The Ritual'). Disaster hits the training camp by Omar's own hand (in a pretty hilarious scene, I might add), bringing the pair back to Britain, but Omar with a new attitude of authority with the group. The rest of the film pretty well involves them bumbling with plans for a bombing while ideologies are constantly clashing. But what takes you by surprise is some of the underlying concepts the film has to offer, like bringing Omar's loving wife and child into the story.
So, I'm not going to say that the film is "full of heart" while being a knee-slapping comedy, because it's definitely the latter first. I might also say that at this point in time it could be considered "dated", but it's comedic, slap-stick look at terrorism without causing any actual harm to anyone but themselves is almost something to be admired. It's not saying "look at these terrible people" so much as it's saying "look at these idiots". The way the film ends, as well, is (at least to me) enough to redeem a lot of the edgy, dark humor throughout the film. It proves the film still has some heart, and is actually still asking a lot of the same questions we've been asking about terrorism this whole time.
This might not be what I would consider a masterpiece of comedy like so many other reviewers seem to be doing. It's not something I'd be able to throw on just any old time, and I feel like I'd have to be in the mood to watch something along the lines of "World's Dumbest Criminals" to do so. But it does a good job at satirising something that, in essence, is mostly untouched in a comedic fashion. Again, 'Team America' is about all I can think of, and even then, the satire leans more on the American side of things. It's worth checking out if you want a good laugh based on this sort of thing.