Double XL is a trainwreck. Good intentions can’t save a movie so utterly clueless.
Rajshri (Huma Qureshi) wants to be a sports broadcaster, and Saira (Sonakshi Sinha) aspires to be a fashion designer. Both face discrimination in their personal and professional lives for being overweight. A chance meeting convinces the two to travel to London for a week, working together to enhance their portfolios and build a lasting friendship.
It’s a simple story setup that in no way requires the forty minutes of annoying backstory that leads up to the two meeting. In fact, the setbacks that bring them together — Rajshri is denied the chance to audition for a job because of her weight, and Saira discovers her boyfriend is cheating on her with a thin woman — should have been used to introduce the main characters and establish them as underdogs.
Rather, much of the superfluous character development actually makes the characters less likeable. Both Rajshri and Saira yell at service workers or people who aren’t in decision-making roles about unfair policies, despite knowing that the person they are screaming at isn’t responsible or able to fix the situation. The solution to systemic discrimination is not bullying.
The story of Double XL feels like it was made with minimal effort and zero research. Rajshri and Saira are both 30 but act like they were frozen in time after they earned their bachelors degrees and only recently thawed out. In the intervening years, they appear to have learned nothing about career paths in their chosen fields and instead expect to be magically elevated to the top of their industries, just as soon as the powers that be can look past their weight.
For a movie about weight bias, it has very little insight to offer on the topic. When characters discuss the subject, it’s with a surface-level understanding that is belabored to death. Some problems that aren’t necessarily weight-related are made so for the sake of keeping the film on topic. The movie offers nothing new to viewers already attuned to weight bias, and it won’t do much to change to the minds of those who weren’t concerned or aware of the problem.
There’s nothing that Sinha and Qureshi — two actors I enjoy — can do performance-wise to save this film, and they get no help from the supporting cast. It’s further confounding that Qureshi co-produced Double XL and didn’t remedy its obvious shortcomings. I really wanted to like this film. I just couldn’t.