With action and romance having let him down badly in the recent past, the hero sports the humour hat in ‘Theeradha Vilaiyaattu Pillai’ (U). The ploy works in his favour for almost three fourths of the film. But the story and screenplay meander in the final leg, and writer-director Thiru does little to lift the tempo.

Be it outfits or accessories Karthik (Vishal) believes in trying out a few before zeroing in on one. But when he adopts the same practice in the choice of a wife, problems abound. Why he decides to shortlist three girls (and not four or more!) to select a life partner sounds illogical. But the circumstances under which he meets the three potential brides (Sarah Jane, Neetu Chandra and Tanushree Dutta) are interesting.

Vishal tried out comedy to a certain extent in ‘Sathyam.’ He goes still further to tickle the funny bone, in ‘TVP,’ and succeeds too. But things get boring when he gets serious. Dexterity in footwork is also Vishal’s strength.

Strangely none of the heroines impress much – a clear drawback. Neetu Chandra’s oomph appeal helps little and Tanushree’s character isn’t well-etched. Pleasant surprises come your way with the fiery presence of Prakash Raj in the latter part of the film, and the breezy one-scene appearance of Sneha. But it’s sad that Prakash is made to play the usual, loud, dhoti-clad don and brother of the heroine all over again!

Thiru’s dialogue sparkles with wit and humour. In fact it is the mainstay in the first half. Santhanam’s hilarious one-liners are an example. The inimitable Mouli lends unique touches to the role of Vishal’s father, ably supported by Sudha as his wife! In expressions and voice modulation Mouli is incomparable. And Sudha, the weepy screen mother, reveals an entirely different dimension in a levity-filled role. Arvind Krishna’s cinematography, including the stylish silhouettes and pleasing colour tones, is a draw.

As far as length goes there’s only so much a viewer can take. Also song sequences are one too many. And when the story goes on and on, not even the editor (T.S. Suresh) can do much. Actually at a particular point, matters get rounded off well and you are ready to leave, feeling upbeat that things stop at the right juncture. But ‘TVP’ doesn’t let you off easily. Protractions go on for another half hour and more, by which time you get fidgety.

Even though the first two hours provide a rollicking ride, the tedium of the last 40 minutes, is something you can do without. (You hear that the film has now been pruned.)