I suppose it’s true: film critics are entirely unreasonable people. After endlessly complaining that the last two “Golmaal” films were like a series of jokes strung together with little by way of story, listen to us grumble now that “Golmaal Again” has too much plot.
That wouldn’t be such a bad thing if the plot were particularly compelling. But it’s a standard issue ghost story and the beats are all too familiar.
Rohit Shetty moves the action from Goa to Ooty, but the film is still shot in such bright, bold colors, it’s as if the cameraman swallowed a box of crayons. The ol’ gang of five is back – Gopal (Ajay Devgan), Madhav (Arshad Warsi), Lucky (Tusshar Kapoor), and the two Laxmans (Shreyas Talpade, Kunal Khemmu) – and for reasons too complicated to go into, they’re all shacked up in a big mansion that just happens to be haunted.
They’re joined, this time, by Tabu, playing a librarian who can see and talk to spirits. There’s also Parineeti Chopra playing the domestic help in that big house. Both ladies, unfortunately, have precious little to do.
To be fair, the film is frequently funny, but in a pedestrian, more-of-the-same sort of way. Johnny Lever can still land a joke better than any of the five ‘heroes’, and Sanjay Mishra pulls off the corniest lines with flair. “Mere fakeeron ke Fawad Khan,” he says to someone at one point. Another person he describes as: “Mere besuron ke Justin Bieber.”
Some laughs are mined from a running gag involving Ajay’s character falling for the much younger Parineeti Chopra, including a cheeky reference to “Cheeni Kum”. Ajay, in fact, is in good form, playing Gopal as the alpha male of the group, but who’s nevertheless terrified of ghosts. “Din ko dus dus ko dhota hai. Raat ko dar dar ke sota hai,” Sanjay Mishra says about him. The other recurring joke involves Nana Patekar’s voice, but I’ll let you discover that for yourself.
Mercifully no cars are spun around like tops and exploded this time around, but the characters repeatedly bandy about the film’s message like a disclaimer, as if warning you not to expect any more than they promise to deliver: “No logic, only magic.”
Logic indeed is in short supply here, and frankly the real magic the filmmakers conjure up is the ability to keep this franchise on the road for all these years with such minimal creative investment. “Golmaal 5”..? Wanna bet it’s on the way?
Meanwhile, because so little of it feels fresh or original, I’m going with two out of five for “Golmaal Again”.
Rating: 2 / 5