Anyone who’s ever got a bad review tends to believe that movie critics don’t want to enjoy a film. That they go into a movie thinking of new and different ways to shred it to bits. That’s not true I can assure you, and I’ve been doing this job for over 15 years. Watching bad films is exhausting, and writing about them even more so. Movie critics – just like everyone else – want to have a good time at the movies.
I for one, am tired of slagging off Akshay Kumar’s films. I genuinely want to be surprised by him. Special Chabbis was smart and well-acted and tightly directed, and it surprised me. But Akshay Kumar doesn’t make too many smart films. He makes movies like Khiladi 786, Once Upon A Time in Mumbai Dobaara and Boss. He makes it so easy to not like his films.
His latest comedy, the presumptuously titled Entertainment, belongs to the same family as Housefull, Housefull 2 and Rowdy Rathore. But on the dumbness scale of 1 to 10, this is Humshakals-level idiotic. Just consider the plot: Akshay Kumar is Akhil Lokhande, a down-on-his luck struggler who discovers he’s the illegitimate son of a recently deceased Bangkok billionaire. Good news, right? Not quite. The only thing that stands between him and his old man’s Rs 3,000 crore legacy is a pooch named Entertainment, who’s inherited that fortune. Encouraged by his friend Jugnu (Krushna Abhishek), he spends the first half of the film plotting to kill his daddy’s faithful four-legged friend, but finds himself repeatedly outwitted. When a pair of criminal uncles (Prakah Raj and Sonu Sood) show up with designs on the money, Akhil turns over a new leaf, and decides to protect the mutt instead.
It’s hard to imagine anyone over the age of six that would find this film funny. The humor isn’t just slapstick and cheerfully low-brow, it’s also repetitive and lazy in a way that Sajid Khan’s films come off intelligent in comparison. From the scarring sight of an overweight Akshay Kumar breastfeeding a baby in the first five minutes of the film, it’s downhill all the way. Mithun Chakraborty is the cash-obsessed father of Akshay’s girlfriend (Tamannah), who, at one point advises his daughter to marry the dog because “all men turn into dogs after marriage anyway”.
Writer-duo Sajid-Farhad, who’ve collaborated on the scripts of Golmaal 3, Double Dhamaal, Singham, Himmatwala and Chennai Express, make their directing debut here, but show little flair for inspired lunacy. The film is littered with industry in-jokes and Bollywood references. “Kahan chale, Sonakshi seena taan ke?” Krushna’s character asks in one of many such puns.
Surprisingly the film isn’t particularly sensitive to canines either. The disclaimer at the start notwithstanding, it’s hard to believe that Junior, the trained dog who plays Entertainment, came away unscathed from the experience; he’s dressed up in a blonde wig in one scene. In another portion when he gathers a four-legged army to stand up to the villains, Akshay verbally attacks his friends. To the boxer he asks, “Tere baap ne kabhi boxing ki hai?” To the German shepherd, “Tera baap kabhi Germany gaya hai?”
Only Johnny Lever succeeds in delivering genuine laughs as Habibullah, the dead billionaire’s manager, who reacts apoplectically each time someone gets his name wrong. He’s the single saving grace in this overcooked, misguided comedy that left me feeling like I’d been pummeled on the head for a full 2 hours and 20 minutes.
I’m going with half, yes just half out of five, for Entertainment. This could be hazardous to your health; doesn’t matter if you’re a movie critic or a movie buff, so go in prepared.