Dir: Sajid Khan
Starring: Saif Ali Khan, Riteish Deshmukh, Ram Kapoor, Bipasha Basu, Eesha Gupta, Tamannaah Bhatia
His twin sister, Farah Khan, is a pretty decent filmmaker (Tees Maar Khan notwithstanding) with a style identifiably her own and Sajid Khan too puts a distinctive stamp on his movies. It’s just that his movies are absolutely terrible and, what’s more, have steadily been getting worse since his first movie, Heyy Babyy. However, apart from last year’s bomb, Himmatwala, Sajid Khan has also kept the turnstiles clicking with his lowbrow comedies. So with the odds in his favour, Sajid Khan trots out all his familiar tropes yet once more with Humshakals. There are cases of mistaken identities, women are trotted out in skimpier and skimpier clothing, everybody slaps everybody (slapstick comedy, get it?), there is a song and dance sequence with the ladies in their nightdresses, everybody overacts, the climactic scene has all and sundry running around in a frenzy and there are bad jokes and puns galore. And, of course, Riteish Deshmukh has to be present in all Sajid Khan movies. And this time around there is the added pleasure (not!) of a whole bunch of cross-dressing going on as Saif Ali Khan, Riteish Deshmukh and Ram Kapoor all romance their very own duplicates in female avatars (too complicated to explain). All this could be bearable if there is an actual plot which makes sense but the entire proceedings of Humshakals are completely nonsensical.
I won’t even bother to try and explain the storyline to you because there actually really isn’t one and whatever there is of it is unexplainable. But what I don’t understand is what Saif Ali Khan, who I associate more with sophisticated rom-coms like Love Aaj Kal and Cocktail (in which he was very, very good), is doing here. He generally makes intelligent choices when signing on the dotted line for a film – they may not all end up as good as they potentially could have been but you can see why he may have been attracted to the projects – so what happened to his good sense here? Is he really that desperate for a hit? In any case, he and the entire cast ham it up like there’s no tomorrow and, after watching this, you wish that there actually wasn’t. The music by Himesh Reshammiya is unmemorable as well.
The pity of it is that from early reports it appears that Humshakals is going to be another hit for Sajid Khan. So there are going to be subjected to even more mind-numbing comedies (if you can call them that) from the director in the future.
Cut to chase: Avoid. Avoid. Avoid.
The Other Woman **
Dir: Nick Cassavetes
Starring: Cameron Diaz, Leslie Mann, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Kate Upton, Don JohnsonI like Cameron Diaz. I really like Leslie Mann (she’s not only appealing but has an excellent, patented brand of bittersweet comedy). Nikolaj Coster-Waldau is so good in HBO’s Game Of Thrones. And director Nick Cassavetes, though he hasn’t quite made a great movie yet (The Notebook has probably been his most popular) comes with an excellent pedigree being the son of actor/director John Cassavetes and actress Gena Rowlands who made the absorbing A Woman Under The Influence together, a movie which depicted the pressures on women of maintaining a marriage and a stable domestic existence. Considering all of this, The Other Woman is a major disappointment.
Even more dishearteningly, especially since it is scripted by a woman (Melissa Stack), The Other Woman proves to be a disservice to women. It doesn’t present them as particularly intelligent (even if Diaz is depicted as a top-flight lawyer) and more needy than anything else. But I suppose in that the movie is an equal opportunity. The object of all the women’s attentions (Coster-Waldau) is a downright cad.
If you haven’t seen the movie’s trailer (which pretty much lets the cat out of the bag as to the movie’s major plot twists) then I’ll try not to give away too much here either. Needless to say, Coster-Waldau is playing the field and will get his come-uppance. The final destination is fairly obvious from the get-go but the movie throws us no real surprises along the way and neither does it really make you laugh nor even smile that much either. On the contrary, there are just too many cringe-worthy moments and the final scenes are spectacularly mishandled by Stack and Cassavetes. On the positive side, however, is a typically likable performance from Mann and, I suppose, super-model Kate Upton’s (making her film debut here) rather obvious charms – she’s first exposed (ahem!) to us in a scene on the beach in super slo-mo – would be an attraction to some.
Cut to chase: See some other movie.
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