2 Stars (out of 4)
Bhumi Pednekar showcases her ability to master any kind of material in the sex-positive comedy Thank You For Coming. Unfortunately, poor pacing and inconsistent world-building keep this progressive story from reaching its full potential.
Pednekar plays Kanika Kapoor, an energetic single woman in her early 30s with an unfulfilling sex life. The film opens with a recounting of all of the disappointing men she’s dated, from a selfish high school boyfriend to a much older professor (played by Anil Kapoor). After we receive all this background and are introduced to her gynecologist mom and conservative grandmother, we learn Kanika has decided to marry a well-to-do nerd named Jeevan (Pradhuman Singh). Better to be hitched and unsatisfied than alone and unsatisfied, she figures.
For some reason, all of Kanika’s exes are invited to the couple’s engagement party. After a drunken night, Kanika wakes up in her hotel room alone. The only thing she remembers is that she finally had her first orgasm, but she doesn’t know who was with her when it happened. She and her pals set out to find the mystery lover before the wedding takes place.
Kanika’s hotel room revelation marks the halfway point in the story, which is way too late in the proceedings, especially since the material that proceeds it is only okay. Besides a few funny moments from Kanika — made all the more entertaining by Pednekar’s committed delivery — there’s a lot of dialogue that isn’t particularly humorous or informative. Critical information that will be relevant later is said in passing rather than shown, so it hardly even registers as something that might be important to the story.
One strange choice by director Karan Boolani and writers Radhika Anand and Prashasti Singh is that they hardly feature Kanika’s cool and very movie-friendly job. A new acquaintance Rushi (Shehnaaz Gill, who is bubbly and fun in her role) says that she is a super fan of Kanika’s work as a food blogger. The only time we see Kanika actually working is in a single, brief scene where her friend’s teenage daughter Rabeya helps her take some food photos. That’s it.
Incorporating food into films would’ve been an easy way to provide visual interest in a movie prone to telling, not showing. Plus, one of the film’s themes is about Kanika accepting herself as she is, and being a popular food blogger would seem to be a pretty big endorsement of one’s self-worth. Instead, the movie reduces Kanika’s whole being down to her floundering sex life.
Thank You for Coming makes compelling points about the double standards held against women who pursue sexual satisfaction. It’s particularly effective in a subplot featuring Rabeya that calls back to Kanika’s own troubled high school romance and its effects on her reputation.
Still, there’s too much dull, inessential fluff in Thank You for Coming, keeping it from being the snappy comedy it should be. Pednekar is a delightful lead, but the story lets her down.