Genre: Slapstick comedy

Director: Sajid Khan

Cast: Saif Ali Khan, Riteish Deshmukh, Ram Kapoor, Satish Shah, Tamannah, Bipasha Basu, Eesha Gupta

One goes to watch Sajid Khan’s film with an open mind but every time one has to pull the shutter down midway because of the trash overload. He might like to call it Housefull! Here again he recycles the same script, if you can all it one, with the help of two seasoned writers and fills it with asinine jokes which juveniles in all age groups confuse with slapstick.

He might object, for this time he would like to call them canine jokes for his protagonists, Ashok and Kumar (Saif Ali Khan and Riteish Deshmukh), start behaving like dogs after drinking a mysterious concoction that Ashok’s sinister uncle (Ram Kapoor) gets prepared so that he could prove them insane and rob Ashok of his business empire. But, howsoever you describe the animated spirits of Sajid, the oneliners lack bite and the slapstick doesn’t hold after the first half an hour where it does promise to evolve into a cracker when it introduces Saif Ali Khan as a business magnate who has a passion for stand-up comedy but nobody gets his poor jokes. It could have been an interesting mix of reel and real because Saif is indeed trying to be versatile but Sajid and Saif fail to build on it.

In Sajid’s universe the humour emanates from the confusion created by who’s who. Having already played this game twice, this time he has taken the easier route. He creates two more sets, not only of Ashok and Kumar but also of the uncle. It generates tremendous opportunities to create misunderstanding but as is his wont, Sajid doesn’t want us to tax our minds. So every time there is the slightest hint of confusion or complexity the title song starts playing in the background. The film is so self-aware that even when it makes fun of Sajid’s Himmatwala, it sounds false.

Subtlety has no space here and editing no merit. Everything is loud and clear and is played out till the dumbest of the lot gets it. It either kills the fun or makes a wild gag look obscene. Here a man in coma is made to go on and off so many times that it fuses our interest. Similarly the boys in drag sequence starts on a promising note but is stretched beyond its potential. Female characters are often reduced to eye candy in Sajid’s films and here again Tamannah, Bipasha Basu and Eesha Gupta try to fit in small outfits and simper in smaller parts but fail to match the ravishing appeal of Deepika Padukone and Lara Dutta that made his Housefull films truly glossy.

Situational comedies require authentic comedians but here apart from Satish Shah and Riteish there is none to carry off the madcap stuff without any pretension. As the Hitler worshipping warden of a mental asylum, Shah does threaten to bring the house down in a couple of scenes.

Saif sportingly tries to fit into the goofy space. From his mother to his father-in-law he mimics a range of actors but the effort shows and Riteish’s natural flair makes it all the more apparent. He is particularly found out in the portions where he is supposed to play Ashok with the brain of a five-year-old. Ram Kapoor brings his television serial type hamming to the big screen, reducing it to ham-shakals. Oh! Sajid’s sense of humour has begun to cast its spell!

Bottomline: One has to be a Himmatwala to endure this gag-fest!