‘Saturday Night’ movie review: Nivin Pauly and Rosshan Andrrews team up for a crazy, wild ride

Despite the uneven writing and humour that works only in parts, Rosshan Andrrews’ film is chaotic for its own good

November 04, 2022 05:58 pm | Updated 06:19 pm IST

Nivin Pauly, Saiju Kurup, and Aju Varghese in a still from ‘Saturday Night’

Nivin Pauly, Saiju Kurup, and Aju Varghese in a still from ‘Saturday Night’ | Photo Credit: Saina Movies

Saturday Night is a wild, crazy ride that borders on the bizarre. The story of four men — Stanley, Sunil, Justin and Ajith — who have been friends since school and through college has its moments. The message of the Rosshan Andrrews film appears to be to live life to the fullest, sans complications, and keep friendships alive, But the route to the gist is not simple and often gets convoluted. The film, scripted by Naveen Bhaskar, tries hard to be funny, but the jokes end up landing only occasionally. The ones that work, however, are original and witty.

The 30-something friends essayed by Nivin Pauly, Aju Varghese, Saiju Kurup and Siju Wilson get back together after a falling out over the film’s two-and-a-half hours. The familiar ‘friends-over-everything’ trope gets a twist with the four going their different ways very early in the film. The late Prathap Pothen appears as Stanley’s father who attempts to broker peace between the friends.

Saturday Night (Malayalam)
Director: Rosshan Andrrews
Cast: Nivin Pauly, Saiju Kurup, Aju Varghese, Siju Wilson, Grace Antony, Saniya Iyappan, Shari, Prathap Pothen
Runtime: 122 minutes
Storyline: Four friends reconnect after eight years to recapture and reinvent their friendship

Although Nivin Pauly shoulders the film, he does not hog it; other characters get their due in the writing as well. In fact, Andrrews makes good use of Saiju, Aju, and Siju. Grace Anthony, yesteryear actor Sari, and Saniya Iyappan however, have been underutilised with their character arcs left unexplored despite the potential. Maybe since the film is about male bonding and bromance — think of road movies such as Dil Chahta Hai, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara et al — women don’t have much to do except serve as catalysts for the action.

Nivin Pauly is endearing as Stanley, the recovering addict ‘stuck’ in the past — the happiest time of his life — and who would do anything for his friends. Nivin has gained weight over the past couple of years, an explanation for which — Stanley’s love of food and his not caring about the kilos gained — is woven into the narrative. No other actor from the current gym-going crop could perhaps be so confident and comfortable with the look. Unintentional it may have been, it does send out a nice body-positivity message.

Siju Wilson impresses as Ajith, who is forced into a marriage with his boss’ daughter, played by Grace (who also stands out with great comic timing). The chemistry the actors’ share redeems the film, which sometimes feels like being all over the place. But the situational comedy is guaranteed to elicit laughs because of the sheer unexpectedness of it.

The narrative is non-linear, with the occasional jump-cut (as flashbacks). While the first half seems to be a mishmash of sequences, an explanation for Stanley’s character and motive come with the second half. Even then, there are certain things one can’t help but wonder as you leave the movie hall — like, why does Sunil always go into that room (a toilet?) and lock himself up?

The editing could have been tighter and the writing tauter, given how some of the scenes/situations — like the car chase in the UAE and the scenes featuring illegal Pakistani migrants — seem unnecessary. The action is chaotic, with almost everyone wearing a poncho-type outfit and brightly painted sneakers at one point in the film!

At times, the multiple threads — mental health, self-help, therapy, drug addiction, memory loss — create a confusing knot to unpick. One can’t help but wonder if the attempt was to bring in the madness of the Hangover films. Like the ‘pumpkin run’ at the end where the four friends make a dash for it, in their birthday suits, wearing carved-out ‘pumpkins’ on their heads. Eccentric or strange? It is in keeping with the mood of the film...

Saturday Night is currently running in theatres

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