In Housefull, director Sajid Khan has only one purpose: he wants to make you laugh. Does he accomplish this? Not often enough.
Housefull belongs to the same school of comedy that gave us Welcome, No Entry, Golmaal and All the Best. There is no craft or narrative or characterisation to speak of.
Random events and characters, lies and misunderstandings, serve to create a low-IQ comedy.
Perhaps Sajid has a bigger budget than Rohit Shetty. So, the stars are A-list and instead of Goa, the locations are London and Italy. But the comedy is the same: broad, farcical and mostly dim-witted.
Which in itself is not a bad thing. There are plenty of cheap laughs to be mined from people slapping each other.
But Housefull, about the misadventures of a singularly unlucky man named Aarush, played by Akshay Kumar, is exhaustingly inconsistent. There are a few laugh-out loud moments here and some sparkling asides. I found Lillette Dubey?s over-sexed Urdu spouting widow and an exchange on night suit pajamas very funny.
There is also a great answering machine message that Boman Irani playing the farsan king Batuk Patel has on his phone. It simply says: Beep pacchi Bako.
But Sajid, who also wrote the film, strains too hard to add humour to every frame. He resorts to the usual gay and Gujarati gags. The film feels laboured and many of the jokes, like Chunky Pandey as a half Italian named Aakhri Pasta, are flatter than Deepika Padukone?s stomach.
Sajid, who prides himself on being a voracious film watcher, has also cheerfully copied moments from films like Night In The Museum and The Hangover.
We even have Arjun Rampal re-creating Robert De Niro?s over-watchful intelligence officer from Meet the Parents.
Strangely, Sajid also bungs in moments of high emotion but it?s impossible to take these characters seriously. The half-a-dozen leads here all seem to be having a good time.
Akshay Kumar works well as the ace loser. He seems to have perfected the sincere geek act and he has a nice chemistry with Ritesh Deshmukh who plays his best friend.
For the women, the biggest challenge is wearing resort wear well and they carry it off with aplomb. But eventually, the writing in Housefull is too mediocre and the film is, at best, a below average entertainer. Keep your expectations low and see it if you must.