Saturday, April 7, 2012

Housefull 2 is a sporadically funny no-brainer

I was in a tizzy before going to watch Housefull 2. After watching Housefull, the prequel to this one,  my best friend claimed to have really enjoyed it, owing it to the laughs and gags in it. Although, he later ate his own words and refuted ever saying anything like that. Guilty pleasure, I guess. I can burn myself to shame but I did enjoy some sequences too, but the overall impact was of hair-brained humor. Housefull 2 is the only movie that has been so religiously pummeled right from the release of its first look, the trailer, the promos all the way up to its release by the people who dont watch movies just for entertainment amongst all others. On the other hand, the movie received aggrandizing promotions from its makers and a wide release. Coming from such a dubious backdrop, I could not have been particularly gushed about this one. Surprisingly, I did not find tickets for an afternoon show at the first two theaters I went to. WHAT? So many people did flock to watch Housefull 2? Compulsively, although unwillingly, I found a bad seat in the third multiplex I went to. 12 actors and Sajid Khan leading them on the director's seat, the whole idea looked grossly wrong. Then why would so many people be willing to watch it? 

Have we ever made a madcap entertainer that has not been termed asinine by the pundits of content-based cinema? Is the meaning of content only limited to serious films? Do people only want to be shocked/vowed/emotionallytugged? Does madcap not involve any thought to produce? The answer is NO. In general, the Indian audience craves to have a nice time at the movies, irrespective of what you serve. They expect a Housefull 2 to provide that and thats why they came in numbers today. The same reason they went for Dabangg, Singham and their likes. What do the scowling pundits feel then? Betrayed? The bottomline is that content should never take a backseat in cinema, and there is no excuse or exception to that law. Films like Hera Pheri, Delhi Belly and some others did not renege the plot despite being madcap entertainers. Guilty pleasure is not bad, but it should not be misattributed to puerility. 

Housefull 2 is not a shameful film, but its only sporadically funny and surreptitiously crotchety. The problem with this one is that the plot is too contrived and everything appears to be arranged right at the moment to fall in the larger scheme of buffoonery. The jokes and gags in Housefull 2 may be tasteless to some because they go the tried and tested route of evoking jest out of gays, midgets, physically challenged, dark skinned people etc. but it packs a bunch of sequences where I did laugh out loud. These shiny spots dont stick out but act merely as a throwaway in an otherwise scrawny pedestrian-humor plot that is laid out. Yet, its not terrible as I expected it to be and anyday better than a Tees Maar Khan, directed by Sajid's sister Farah Khan. Sajid contrives a confusion amongst 12 characters that is very low brained and tries hard to squeeze in unnecessary action sequences, familiar jokes and drags it for a staggering 2 hours 40 minutes which leaves the comedy half baked and banal. The few genuinely comical sequences dont haul your senses for the entire run. Another problem is that Khan makes his actors deliver some sneeringly lame lines, grotesquely believing that its funny. Stupidity is inherent with madcap entertainers and the actors need not be laconic but Sajid does not know where to stop. One wishes for more comical sequences rather than a frumpy line deliberately pushed into the screenplay. All the tribute to a million things, the mish-mash of the proceedings and the convenient plot makes Housefull 2 underwhelming, if not predictably unbearable. 

Housefull 2 is backed by Sajid Nadiadwala's production house Nadiadwala Grandson Entertainment, which has all the money to make big films and they do spend profusely on this one. The Production Design is slick at times and gaudy at others. Most of the technical departments are strictly okay like Sound Design, Background score and Dialogues. Music is passable and thankfully there are only 4 songs. Papa Toh Band Bajaye and Anarkali Disco Chali have become the pick of the lot. I tell you, Malaika Arora Khan shimmying on a number is still better than all of them out there. Editing could have been way better to make the final product less pneumatic and amateurish. 

When it comes to madcap entertainers made by Sajid Khan, acting starts meaning contorting faces, laughing unnecessarily and hamming generously. Sad to say, most of the actors fail at that too. Rishi and Randhir are saddled with the worst of lines which is a shame for seasoned actors. Randhir breaks into seriously unfunny dialogues in some scenes that is profane. John Abraham cannot act even in comedies, the animals used in the film act more than him. His craggy looks dont suit the character. Shreyas is allright but does not get much scope. Mithun does well to play his part well. Boman Irani is the funniest of the fathers, as expected. Chunky Pandey is irritating and comical at the same time. The girls are immersively nubile but should feature in anything but comedy. None of them stand out even once. The few sparks of comedy belong to Akshay, Riteish and veteran actor Ranjeet who features in just one sequence. Riteish is alluringly affable and Akshay does well to make you laugh, more often than not. His characteristic gesture used all through the film works big time. There also exists an appalling discrimination in the screen space given to the dirty dozen. Clearly, Akshay, Ritesh, Jacqueline and Mithun were favored, being the director's favorites. 

Housefull 2 is not the credulous madcap you are looking for, but makes you laugh in parts and keeps you entertained. The audience in my theater did not seem to complain even with its long duration and laugh at most of the gags. The hype was low, but the promotions were strong. The first day collections are projected to be huge, specially in the overseas markets. It wont fall flat like the recent Akshay Kumar movies because people seem to be liking it more. The idea of wholesome entertainment is not mastered in this piece, but the audience is still interested in checking it out, despite the critics running it down. The critic in me would rate it half a star lower but the audience in me evens it out to the final rating. Its not a fallacy but not a farce either. 

Rating - 2/5


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