A jolly poor show
Some films are review-proof—Housefull 2 is one of them. In spite of scathing criticism of Housefull, director Sajid Khan audaciously mounted the sequel, creating a franchise that promises to appeal only to the lowest common denominator, and banks on the belief that there are enough movie-goers out there who are capable of leaving their “brains at home”. Those who are unable to do so would be advised to carry aspirin, if they dare brave this tedious and offensive bore masquerading as “comedy”.
This time round, producer Sajid Nadiadwala doubles as story writer. His complex plot, which is a mesh of mistaken identities, is given context with the juvenile dialogues and puerile jokes by Farhad-Sajid.
Four fathers, four daughters, four men—three of whom pretend to be Jolly—constitute the “dirty dozen” that populate Housefull 2. Chintu and Daboo Kapoor (who else but Rishi and Randhir Kapoor, respectively) are feuding half-brothers. Their enmity extends across the boundary wall between their houses to their wives and daughters Heena (Asin) and Bobby (Jacqueline Fernandez). They wager as to who will get the richer son-in-law.
A still from the film.
But when Jai’s (Shreyas Talpade) father suffers a heart attack after being insulted by Chintu, Jai conspires to exact revenge on the gold-digging Chintu by duping him into marrying his daughter off to a no-hoper. First, Jai enlists the help of his wealthy friend Jolly (Ritesh Deshmukh), the only son of a rich and successful UK-based Indian called JD (Mithun Chakraborty).
Jolly lends his identity to Max (John Abraham), a small-time con man who schemes his way into the wrong Kapoor’s house, immediately falling in love with Daboo’s daughter Bobby. In order to get to the right Kapoor, Jai and Jolly rope in the creepy Sunny (Akshay Kumar), who, posing as JD’s son, weasels his way into Chintu’s daughter Heena’s heart.
In the meanwhile, the real Jolly is too afraid of his father to tell him about his girlfriend J.Lo (Zarine Khan) and Jai’s father’s health prevents him from confessing to loving Parul (Shazahn Padamsee). So at some point, Jai becomes fake Jolly No. 3.
To summarize: Kumar romances Asin, Abraham woos Fernandez, Deshmukh is paired with Khan while Talpade is opposite Padamsee. Boman Irani shows up midway as JD’s long-lost friend Batuk Patel and then, whether happy or angry, shouts his way through his scenes.
Lowbrow: Most of the actors ham it up, including Boman Irani (R), who shouts his way through his scenes.
Yesteryear villain Ranjeet makes a cameo appearance as Sunny’s father, a sleazy therapist called Ranjeet V.Asna K.Pujari TheRapist! Chunky Pandey reprises his role as Aakhri Pasta; Johny Lever is JD’s confused sidekick; and Malaika Arora Khan is the seductress. So what does the director do with this stable of characters?
Not much. The screenplay clearly runs out of steam post-interval and stumbles over its designer clothes while trying to unhinge itself from a runaway plot.
Like part I, the humour in Housefull 2 is lowbrow and also leans on offensive gags, which denigrate people of colour and the vertically challenged. Some jokes are indeed funny: like Deshmukh saying he was previously bodyguard to the president, the president of Lions Club, Bhandup, and the appearance of a fake Prince Charles, who knows what a daku (bandit) is—it evokes an involuntary smirk, especially when he’s shot at by JD.
While in the first part the chemistry between Kumar and Deshmukh was most noticeable, here it is Kumar and Abraham’s chemistry that stands out. None of the four Jollys shares any vibe with their female counterparts. Most of the actors ham it up, notably Irani, Pandey and Randhir Kapoor. Of the rest, Chakraborty’s performance is most controlled, followed by Deshmukh and Talpade. Fernandez displays a modicum of grace. Asin fits into a film of this genre. Zarine Khan is least impressive. Padamsee should be grateful for her limited screen time.
There could be no better catalogue of the worst school of acting and writing than Housefull 2. The movie ticket should come with earplugs and a warning that it’s not actually possible to “leave your brains at home”.
Housefull 2 released in theatres on Friday.