MOVIE REVIEW: HAPPY ENDING
A writer with a block is as much a cliche as the guy with commitment issues. ‘Happy Ending’ piles up many more as it goes along, making the film a series of been-here, seen-this moments, and a wasted opportunity.
Yudi (Saif Ali Khan) is a, yes, writer with a block, who is, yes, commitment phobic. If I start counting the number of rom coms with that exact job description of the leading man, I would tire myself out. That’s what this film leaves you with: tiredness, because somewhere under all the derivativeness and dullness, there’s a film here.
Only if it had started backwards, that is. The first half spends too much time building up Yudi’s persona: he’s the guy who is happy to romp but runs when he hears the ‘L’ word, and that attitude extends to his super-happy, always-smiley girl-friend Vishakha (Kalki Koechlin). But it’s done with slackness, which is accentuated even more by the appearance of Yudi’s alter-ego, the bumbling pot-bellied fellow in printed boxers who’s always chomping on something. What is that about? Are all cool dudes secret slobs? So why not make more of that and give us sharper characters?
And then, of course, Yudi runs into that one girl, Aanchal (Ileana DCruz), who makes his heart go ‘dhak-dhak’, but who also likes to look before she leaps. Now that, right there, is the core of an interesting premise for a rom com, Hollywood or Bollywood : how do you get two commitment shy people to get together? But that raises its head much too late, and is never explored with any depth.
In this mix are your standard rom com tropes. The best friend, played by Ranvir Shorey, who’s married and not happy about it. The ex-girlfriend (Preity Zinta) who waited for our Yudi, who is now hitched but still hot, and lends a shoulder whenever needed.
There’s also Govinda, playing a superstar in search of a superhit script via a stack of Hollywood DVDs. Getting a Bollywood star to fly into LA , where this is based, for an ‘original’ idea could have been fun, and just right for the spoofy tone which this film is presumably aiming for.
But the tonal confusion never lets it hit its sweet spots, giving us neither a full-fledged tender romance between its good looking leads, nor the funny ha-ha bits of a blocked writer being asked to lift shamelessly : the insider joke– as readers of gossipy rags, we all know that this is what happens– is flat.
Saif Ali Khan is in a part that he can and has winged before: this is territory he inhabits with charm and ease, but none of those things help when the film is this lax. Where’s the verve? The electricity between lovers? The lines which make us sigh? Ileana looks lovely, but her inexperience shows. And though Govinda raises the temperature a little, he doesn’t get to do enough: this is the second straight week, after last week’s ‘Kill Dil’, that this has happened.
I was happy when this ended.