Monday, August 11, 2014

Entertainment Movie Review : How To Kill The Slapstick Genre With Laziness

Silly. Brainless. Low-brow. Whatever you may call these variety, films like Akshay Kumar's Entertainment are churned out every few weeks incessantly and the trend has been vehemently propagated by stalwarts of this cinema, such as Sajid Khan (a pioneer), Rohit Shetty (occasionally), David Dhawan (now that he has lost his charm in his second innings), Inder Kumar (with some sexual undertones) and a few others. Sajid - Farhad, the director duo of Entertainment, may well be added to the list as they have been writing the films for many of the above directors for years. 

In Entertainment, Akhil Lokhande (Akshay Kumar) competes with a golden retriever, ironically named Entertainment, to inherit Rs 3000Cr property of his deceased father who left his mother long back. There is no legitimate way to take this plot seriously, and neither do the director duo want you to. Fair enough. But then as an audience, you wish to be surprised by smart writing and ingenuous gags that reinvest your faith in slapstick or physical humor. I believe it is possible to not think logic and just have a good time, provided the film does provide so. With respect to this one, it already had a much foul air surrounding its promos and trailers as they unraveled themselves over the past few weeks. Save for one song which is on everyone's mouth. Add to that, the film is crunched between two films which inherently have the maximum buzz this season, Kick and Singham Returns. Oh boy, Entertainment better had been immensely enjoyable to make a mark. But alas, it is not. 

First and foremost, the good parts of Entertainment. The humor used by writer-director duo is not puerile, cheap or sleazy. However, it is still appallingly silly. They come up with a couple of inspired characters, specially in Akhil's friend Jugnu (Krushna Abhishek) and his father's manager Habib-Ullah (Johnny Lever). While Jugnu is a Bollywood fanatic, who uses actors' and films' names in all his lines, Habib is constantly perturbed by others using different variations of his name for him. The film begins with a relatively funny gag where you are shown the various jobs Akhil does for money but the lunatic joy of the subsequent gags keeps reducing. Entertainment never made me laugh out loud, a chuckle here and there was the the most common outcome as it stumbled from one sequence to the other, without much adherence to the plot. A sequence in which Akhil scares his two villainous cousins with a ghost story is enjoyable. 

A lot of humor in Entertainment is weaved from inside Bollywood jokes or from hammy staged sequences of over-acting in an effort to make dialoguebaazi ironically funny, which fails miserably ofcourse. Instead, it makes the film limp into loudness. Comic writing has a rule of three, where in you cannot run the same joke more than three times. The first two should be a buildup and the third one the finale punch. Sajid-Farhad seem to have taken it too seriously as they implement this age old technique to every joke in the film. The question gag of Akhil is repeated multiple times, each time employing the rule of threes. Most of the writing comes of as regurgitated and lazy as the writers are employing situations, techniques and plot points which they have used in many previous films. They make sure to suck the freshness out of the proceedings which renders the slapstick like a slap on your face. If not for that, Entertainment must win the award for the tackiest VFX in Hindi Films, after Jaani Dushman. The graphics are so bad that I bled tears of blood in a long sequence which occurs right before the interval. To add to the garish nature of things is Manoj Soni's despicable cinematography. Soni, along with the director-duo has lit up each frame in the worst possible way. Add to that a horrible Production Design. There are scenes where you can see from a window that the outside is a fake set, or that a couple of trees in the foreground are waving due to air but the ones at the back are not as they used a green screen, or that a vehicle isnt moving at all when they intend to make it look like it is. Wow, such terrible levels of production values in a film which has backing from Tips Films (Taurani brothers) and Pen India (Jayantilal Gada). Music by Sachin-Jigar is a definitive saving grace as it doles out hummable party numbers. Johnny Johnny is definitely the pick of the lot. Steven Bernard's editing is okay. 

Junior, the canine who plays Entertainment, is credited ahead of Akshay Kumar in the film, but it is Kumar who sabotages every scene of the film, so much so that Tamannah is used for basic doll purposes only. Junior, well-trained and gorgeous, does well as much as the directors ask him to. But his counterpart, Akshay Kumar, struggles to make us laugh. He looks disturbingly old, and trying too hard to rise above the script eventually resulting in falling flat on his face. Tamannah is poor man's Sonakshi Sinha, and the character is right up her alley, the uni-dimensional regressive role for a female just to add to the glamour quotient. Krushna Abhishek is obnoxious, just like in Bol Bachchan, but manages to pull a few laughs. Mithun Chakraborty agrees to play one of the worst characters ever written, that of a dad who will marry his daughter only for money. Prakash Raj and Sonu Sood, the conniving half-uncles, are pretty caricaturish and dont get anything fresh to do. However, it is the veteran Johnny Lever who makes a mark with his comic timing after a long while. Good to see him in form. 

On the whole, Entertainment is an ironical film as it does not provide much of what its title promises. I could not find a singular aspect to rave about in the film, unfortunately. The question still remains, why is Akshay Kumar doing this to himself, again and again? The film had an average start at the Box Office and it should recover its money but then is that really the point? It may be clean humor but it is definitely nothing fresh or even a wee bit inspired. Entertainment leaves you placid as you sink into your seats in the theater and you wonder if Sajid Farhad should have saved their best of writing for their directorial debut. Watch Entertainment to support lazy writing in cinema!

Rating - 1/5

Originally published for MadAboutMoviez here

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