Tag Archives: Sajid Nadiadwala

Movie Review: Kick (2014)

Kick0 Stars (out of 4)

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Suspension of disbelief is one thing, but Kick asks its audience to forget everything they know about quality filmmaking for 146 minutes. Kick is boring, annoying, and offensively stupid.

Though no one associated with this turd comes off well, Kick is primarily a failure of storytelling. The moronic plot lacks any sense of organization. Explanations come out of left field. The characters — in particular Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s villainous rich guy, Faroz — operate without clear motivation. There’s nothing in this that makes a lick of sense.

Though Kick is a Salman Khan vehicle, the movie opens with Shaina (Jacqueline Fernandez) moping about in Warsaw, Poland. She shares a train ride with Himanshu (Randeep Hooda), a top cop visiting from India. Their families want the two of them to marry, but Shaina explains that she’s still mourning the end of her previous relationship.

The movie should’ve stopped at that point. When Randeep Hooda starts talking marriage — especially while looking cute in a sweater vest — the only answer is, “Yes.” Roll credits. Instead, we get forty-five minutes of flashbacks to Shaina’s romance with annoying lout Devi Lal (Khan).

It’s hard to believe that a woman intelligent enough to become a licensed psychiatrist would fall for a schmuck as irritating as Devi Lal, but Shaina does nonetheless. He dumps her after she suggests that — since he finds steady employment and conventional romance a kind of “hell” that interferes with his adrenaline addiction — they live with her dad after marriage. Devi Lal declares that he won’t be a live-in son-in-law and stalks off.

It takes nearly two hours before alleged genius cop Himanshu realizes that the master thief “Devil” he’s tracked to Warsaw is Shaina’s ex, Devi Lal, who’s managed to worm his way into Shaina’s care with a purported case of amnesia.

Things get increasingly stupid as politically connected healthcare tycoon Feroz is revealed to be Devil’s next target. Siddiqui plays Feroz as a cackling supervillain, but he doesn’t have a sinister agenda or plan for world domination. He’s just a rich guy who’s kind of a dick.

(Speaking of genitalia, did no one on the crew notice that Randeep’s nuts were practically busting out of his pants during Himanshu’s balcony drinking scene with Devi Lal?)

The explanation for Devi Lal’s transition from unemployed schmo to master thief hinges on writer-director Sajid Nadiadwala’s exploitation of disabled children to provoke audience sympathy. It’s tacky.

It also doesn’t hold up to scrutiny from a story perspective. No matter what Devil’s Robin Hood-like motivations are, he kills several Polish police officers who try to stop his destructive chase through downtown Warsaw (which may have actually been London, since Devil drives a red double-decker bus headed for King’s Cross).

But, this being a Salman Khan film, morality always tilts in Khan’s favor. No matter how many lives Devi Lal/Devil takes, he’s always the hero because his intentions were good. Like every Khan character, Devi Lal’s only flaw is that he doesn’t have a girlfriend when the movie begins.

There’s nothing good about this movie. The performances are terrible. Even the choreography sucks because it has to accommodate Khan’s stiffness.

Enough. We’ve seen this all before. Kick just takes the typical Khan movie to jaw-dropping new lows.

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Movie Review: Kambakkht Ishq (2009)

kambakktishq1 Star (out of 4)

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By this point, if you’ve seen one Akshay Kumar slapstick comedy, such as Chandni Chowk to China, Singh is Kinng, or Welcome, you’ve seen them all. Kambakkht Ishq is no different, except that producer Sajid Nadiadwala cast three American movie stars, in the hopes of making this film a crossover hit. But the publicity-stunt casting can’t save this cliched comedy.

Kumar stars as Viraj, a Hollywood stuntman who thinks women are only good for one thing. Kareena Kapoor plays Simrita, a supermodel-surgeon (seriously) who thinks men are dogs. While trying to convince their families and friends that romance is for suckers, they inadvertently fall in love with each other. It’s a plot that’s as old as the hills, and this movie does nothing to freshen it up.

There are a number of reasons why Kambakkht Ishq won’t appeal to American audiences the way Nadiadwala hoped, beyond the predictable problem of Hindi wordplay jokes that aren’t funny when translated into in English.

First, the casting of American actors didn’t work. It was cool to see Sylvester Stallone in a Bollywood movie, but Denise Richards and Brandon Routh barely qualify as “stars” in the U.S. I’m guessing Denise Richards is referred to only by her full (and real) name throughout the movie so that Indian moviegoers can look her up on IMDb after getting home from the theater.

More confusing is the inclusion of a bunch of Australian actors in the movie, even though it’s set in Hollywood. Aussie singer Holly Valance makes a cameo appearance, despite having little name recognition in the U.S., apart from a few small parts on some canceled TV shows. And nothing snaps you out of movie faster than an L.A. thug who sounds like Crocodile Dundee.

Along those lines, the dialogue in the movie is lame, and having American actors deliver awkward lines in English just emphasizes the poor quality of the writing.

Also problematic for American audiences is a scene in where Simrita watches Viraj film stunts for a movie. The set Viraj is working on is clearly that of the Waterworld stunt show at Universal Studios Hollywood theme park. There are even empty bleachers in the background of one of the shots!

Yet the biggest reason American movie fans won’t like Kambakkht Ishq is its style of comedy. Most egregiously, some of the jokes are racist, such as when Viraj dons an afro wig and blackface makeup to trick his sister-in-law.

The rest of the slapstick-style comedy is old-fashioned by American standards, and not well executed. There are pratfalls and pies in the face, all done with over-the-top, silent-movie-style acting.

There’s also a bit with a doctor who’s lost his hearing aid that inspires predictable jokes like this:

Viraj: “I need you to check!”
Doctor: “You want to have sex?”

All of the jokes in Kambakkht Ishq have been done before, and they’ve all been done better. Given the dismal reviews American critics gave to Chandni Chowk to China, which was distributed by Warner Bros., it’s time for Indian producers to rethink pinning their hopes of achieving crossover success in the U.S. on Akshay Kumar, at least until he starts making more sophisticated comedies.

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