An extended home movie that aims to draw laughs from the inter-generational, inter-cultural divisions within the Indian-American community, “Meet the Patels” is engaging but overlong, and at times more than a mite unsettling.

The joint filmmakers are siblings and Geeta V. Patel and Ravi V. Patel. She’s the cameraman, recording step-by-step the family process of trying to find a wife for her brother, an actor who narrates the finished picture—in which he occasionally appears as a cartoon version of himself via animated sequences. But the larger-than-life characters are their mom and dad Champa and Vasant, traditionalists who are bound and determined to get their son married off to an appropriate Indian bride, even though they’re willing to make adjustments to the process their family has followed forever—which in their case includes marrying a Patel (a name more common in India than Smith or Jones is in America) from specific regions in the Gujarat area.

Ravi confesses to the camera that, unbeknownst to his parents, he’s been dating an American redhead named Audrey for some time, but when they break up—Audrey will later say because of his refusal to commit—he’s willing to accept his parents’ help to find a suitable mate. That will involve sending out and going over what amount to “availability resumes,” using Indian date sites, taking plausible candidates out for scrutiny, and even attending a “Patel convention” where marriageable members of the huge clan engage in a sort of speed-dating system. It will also include visits to friends and family who invariably tell Ravi that he should marry quickly and often promise that if he would only put the matter in their hands, he would have a bride without delay.

Most of this is genial and good-natured, including sequences of Ravi preparing for dates and some footage of the dates themselves—although record of those that don’t work out is conspicuously omitted, presumably to save the girls from embarrassment. There does tend to be a great deal of repetition, however, and a few moments that could grate. When Ravi’s father says, for instance, “Not getting married and being single is the biggest loser you can be,” some in the audience might find the sentiment—even when taken as symptomatic of a cultural attitude that’s being challenged—as insulting. At another point, a friend being interviewed chortles that his grandmother is a terrible racist, but also the nicest person you could ever hope to meet. That’s precisely the sort of remark you might find, at the very least, very strange. Talk about the hue of various marital candidates, their skin’s level of darkness, moreover, has a distinctly racist tinge. One could also wish that occasionally the Patels were shown talking about something other than Ravi’s marital prospects. By the time the film passes the hour mark you begin to think of these folks as among the most obsessively single-minded in the world.

If one takes “Meet the Patels” as a critique of an antiquated set of beliefs and practices, of course, all these difficulties evaporate. But the problem is that while Ravi’s parents realize that they must adapt to changing realities, they still hold resolutely on to as many of their traditions as they can. And since, despite Ravi’s exuberance, they’re by far the most characters on view, one is tempted, despite all misgivings, to go along with them. On the other hand, at least their presumed intransigence allows for a kind of dramatic reversal that creates a third-act obstacle to the family’s smooth sailing.

As to how Ravi’s search for a bride turns out, the answer is that it probably won’t come as much of a surprise, given his narration as well as his confessions to Geeta. But from the body language in the final scenes, the outcome might not turn out to be quite as idyllic as the movie suggests.

Perhaps we’ll find out in a sequel.