So what are the weak points of Keith Clemons's Mohamed's Moon?
Layla. Just as Mohamed is the strong character, Layla is the weak one. As Mohamed and Matthew were squaring off, I was reminded of the old Popeye cartoons where Popeye and Bluto would get into a smackfest over a female who helped promote celibacy in everyone else who saw her. Layla's better looking, yes; but she makes a point early on of letting Matthew know she thinks he's been lying to her from the beginning (and she is terribly hurt, of course). He isn't lying, but she never considers an apology. There's a turn-on. She makes it clear she's in love with someone else (unless Matthew is lying, anyway). She's self-centered, manipulative, and shrewish. Run from such people, especially on a date. And remember that they aren't all women, either.
Sayyid. Sayyid is a bit obvious for a modern villain. I kept waiting for him to twirl his mustache and threaten to bisect his bride-to-be in his sawmill unless she gave him the deed to the ranch. Now, it's true that vice tends to uglify those who practice it, but this still seemed a bit overdone.
The ending. Specifically, the amazing dénouement and its aftermath. There's some goofy stuff about explosives that wouldn't really work and a dramatic deed that would actually make matters worse by practically ensuring the survival of some hostile witnesses. Also, remember that in spite of Hollywood physics, you can't outrun an explosion unless you're faster than a speeding bullet.
On the other hand, the business with Layla struck me as hopeful. If she had gone the other way, I probably wouldn't have liked the story.
Conclusion. I did like it, though, largely for the reasons mentioned yesterday. I think the ending would've been better if Matthew and Mohamed had downed some spinach and beaten up all the bad guys and kicked soccer balls toward Uncle Omar's Terrorist Academy so hard they would've leveled the place. But the modern world is too wimpy for Popeye Diplomacy, I guess.
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