It is with much trepidation that one approaches Bollywood comic romps these days. They tend to hinge more on heavy-handed buffoonery than on genuine hilarity.
Main Tera Hero has both strains of comedy, the crass and the truly funny, but in the end it is the latter that dominates.
The sheer absurdity of the screwball plot does not weigh unduly heavy on the film because the likeable oddballs that populate it quickly get on top of things.
Of course, amid the frantic pace of Main Tera Hero, the one-film-old and understandably over-enthusiastic Varun Dhawan is frequently in danger of tripping over the line.
Obviously keen to graduate from student to superstar, the lead actor dances, fights and romances his way through the film with great gusto. He manages to retain his balance. No mean feat that.
The wacky screenplay (Tushar Hiranandani) is driven by a go-as-you-like, act-as-you-please spirit that is further fanned by the no-holds-barred dialogue (Milap Zaveri).
That gives the actors the leeway to be completely batty.
Main Tera Hero is a laugh riot, unapologetically mindless but infectiously boisterous and off-the-wall.
Do not look for logic and sense here. Just sit back and enjoy the harmless lunacy unleashed by a bunch of cranks whose actions would make little sense if they were to be judged by the rules normal human behaviour.
Main Tera Hero is an action-packed romantic comedy that is peppered with vivacious performances, peppy musical set pieces, and a breezy and an unusual love triangle that eventually acquires an additional angle.
The liberal doses of zaniness and some of the over-the-top directorial touches are reminiscent of the David Dhawan of yore.
The film certainly has its share of moments (especially in the early parts of the first half) that aren?t particularly effective.
These slip-ups could leave the less patient segments of the audience squirming in their seats and wondering what the hell is going on.
However, once Main Tera Hero warms up and settles into its chosen off-kilter rhythm, it hurtles along without let and sets itself up nicely for a bouncy climax that is as crazy as anything else that the film has on offer.
The story, which is clearly only a pretext to hang the film?s many gags on, delivers frantic twists and turns that strain credulity.
But the situations do not seem to be out of place in the context of the misadventures of a college laggard (Varun Dhawan) who moves from Ooty to Bangalore to get a life.
But in the big bad city, the loose cannon courts even bigger trouble by daring to aggressively woo a pretty college mate (Ileana D?Cruz), who a rogue policeman (Arunoday Singh) wants to marry no matter what.
The hero converses with the gods, needles the boorish cop and continues on his merry ways until his botched-up life takes another turn.
Unbeknown to him, the daughter (Nargis Fakhri) of a gangster (Anupam Kher) is smitten by the young man.
All hell breaks loose when he finds himself in the mobster?s den in Bangkok.
In the free-for-all that ensues, he is not only caught between the two girls in his life but is also compelled to think on his feet and devise ways to keep the clumsy cop at bay.
Director David Dhawan conjures up a world where anything goes, take it or lump it.
The college that the hero goes in order to acquire a degree does not resemble any educational institution that exists anywhere in our part of the world.
The dreaded Bangkok mafia don whose beloved daughter falls in love with the unsuspecting male protagonist does very little that could justify his pre-eminent billing in the world of crime.
But then, Main Tera Hero isn?t remotely interested in creating a real college campus where boys and girls fret over mundane things like attending classes and preparing for examinations.
Nor does the film intend to etch out a fearsome figure of a bloodthirsty gangster who needs no provocation to pull the trigger on his adversaries. Instead, he arouses more mirth than fear.
That is the kind of film Main Tera Hero is. It is designed as a madcap escapade and that is all there is to it.
Varun Dhawan pumps every ounce of strength into serving the film?s avowed purpose.
D?Cruz and Fakhri provide ideal foils to the male lead although the latter?s character is sketchy and her Hindi diction way too dodgy.
The lead trio is well supported by an array of comic talent ? Anupam Kher, Saurabh Shukla and Rajpal Yadav. When they are on the screen, even the less convincing passages pass muster.
Saurabh Shukla as the gangster?s wise-cracking sidekick and Yadav as the cop?s bullied assistant are the best of the lot.
As one character in the film reminds another, forget the words, just focus on the emotions. In fact, it would be wise to ignore the emotions too.
Main Tera Hero, for all its excesses, is held together by its sustained comic energy. The sillier it turns, the better it gets.
The film has enough laugh-out-loud situations for the audience not to be overly put off by the screenplay?s obvious rough edges.
Give Main Tera Hero a shot. Not quite vintage David Dhawan, but it comes pretty close.