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Housefull review: Exit now!

Movie:
Housefull
Director:
Sajid Khan
Cast:
Akshay Kumar, Deepika Padukone, Lara Dutta, Jiah Khan, Arjun Rampal, Ritesh Deshmukh, Boman Irani, Randhir Kapoor, Chunky Pandey, Subhan Nadiadwala and Malaika Arora
Avg user rating:
It’s that kind of a film – where you’re advised to leave your brains at home. Except that you can’t. You’re pretty much stuck with your taste — too bad if you do have a sensibility demanding reasonably-refined entertainment.

Such films are also called laughathons, and very rarely make you laugh. But yes, in the sea of tasteless films flooding theatres week after week, they do offer the one thing viewers love — stars.

Akshay Kumar, the king of such films (Welcome, Singh is Kinng, Kambakkht Ishq) appears in yet another with the newest hit actress on the block – Deepika Padukone. Riteish Deshmukh known for multi-hero comedies appears as the sidekick with Lara Dutta.

Kumar acts once again as a nerdy loser. In this case he’s also unlucky to boot. Based in London, his character Aarush’s luck is shown to be unfavourable to the extent that a vacuum-cleaning attempt leads to the house turned on its head and a dead pet bird.

His girlfriend (Malaika Arora Khan) dumps him for his impossibly bad luck, and he gets socked by her brother (Arjun Rampal).

Next, his best bud and wife Hetal (Riteish, Lara) get him hooked to their boss’s daughter (Jiah Khan). Things go well and they get married, till he realises that it was all a hoax.

He then falls for Sandy (Deepika Padukone), who coincidentally is the sister of his ex-girlfriend. Which means they share the same sock-happy brother.

Then starts the track of Hetal pining for her father back in Gujarat. A waitress married to a casino attendant, Hetal, in her desperation to win back her father who was opposed to the match, lies that they live in a mansion and also have a baby.

Meanwhile, Sandy too lies to her brother about her boyfriend being a millionaire. Stuck in the middle of this lie-fest is Aarush who proudly claims that he always speaks the truth.

So now, a baby and a palatial home have to be organised. The couples, holding menial jobs, manage to hire out one of the plushest mansions in London to keep up their act, and this is the house that leads inspiration to the film’s title.

Tired gags tumble as an excuse for laughs - there’s the by-now-mandatory gay joke track, the mixed identities, an electric-shock joke, cameos by a monkey and a tiger, and an over-the-top climax involving laughing fits.

Sadly, there’s hardly a moment or two where the viewer laughs out loud; a pretty low score for a comedy.

Characterisation is one-dimensional. All the characters seem to exist in a void, where they speak and think in the same manner. In any case, you can tell the focus has been on the look of the actors, rather than their character sketches.

So you have the actresses in one fab outfit after the other, perfectly accessorised, until you reel under a glamour OD. Our filmmakers truly ought to consider dressing up the actors after their characters and not as glamour dolls 24x7.

Styling goes horribly wrong with Akshay Kumar. Making him wear a black-and-white checked jacket with a red bow-tie just to establish he’s simple, is toeing the line.

Acting is so-so. Akshay Kumar does the tired, underdog routine. Boman Irani, who could’ve proven to be an asset, is barely exploited. Arjun Rampal does well. Riteish Deshmukh gets the film’s most boring role. The ladies are prancing around in hot shorts or bikinis or some such, and don’t get much performance scope; a shame considering they do have striking screen presence.

This is Sajid Khan’s second directorial venture; this time without the crutches of remaking an already-established Hollywood comedy. (Heyy Babyy in 2007 was based on the hugely-popular Hollywood film Three Men and a Baby.)

What can one say? It’s just like so many of its kind – banking on skin-show, star-power and a couple of tired gags; it’s frightening to say that this is the only endurable option available to the Hindi film viewer currently.

Verdict: Two stars

 

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