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Housefull 3 movie review: It is hilarious for humans who don't have to watch it

Rahul Desai | Updated on: 10 February 2017, 1:49 IST
Third installment of the Housefull series directed by Farhad-SajidStars way too many people to name hereStale, lazy and horribly formulaic studio comedyRating: 1.5 Stars

I tried. I really did. In my valiant attempt to reach late for a matinee show of the third Housefull installment - a comedy film franchise that thrives on inane overpopulation just like the country it represents - I forgot the thumb rule of bad movies: You can run, but you can't hide.

You don't wait for Housefull 3; Housefull 3 waits for you. And only once you're seated, whenever that is - after the barrage of Sultan trailers, grainy anti-smoking ads, a 36th variation of our national anthem, and opening credits warning us that Nargis Fakhri is legally still an actress - the slideshow of braindead gags will begin.

And by the end, you're laughing, but not in the way comedies should make you laugh. Your spirit has exited your body, floated up into the projecting light, and is howling down at your unfortunate physical existence. It is mocking you. You're cackling for survival, like Dr. Asthana (from Munnabhai MBBS) at his laughing club, or like The Joker after being pushed to the edge.

Now that I've gotten my condition out of the way, let's get down to business. At one point in Housefull 3 - I'm going to mention the title repeatedly till my therapist says I'm fine - 11 cretinous characters are seated at a dining table in a London mansion. A toy train (probably the same damned one from 'Ki & Ka') is serving them food.

Stay with me here. You can practice your speed-reading (terms and conditions apply). Here goes: Abhi (Abhishek Bachchan) is a wannabe rapper pretending to be speech-impaired for the girls' father Batuk Patel (Boman Irani) but also physically disabled for the intimidating gangster (Jackie Shroff), Teddy (Riteish Deshmukh) is a race car driver pretending to be visually impaired for Batuk and speech-impaired for don, Sandy is a football player (Sundi, his 'other' personality, acts up when he hears the term 'Indian', because racism) pretending to be physically disabled for Batuk and visually impaired for don; they're doing all this to marry Batuk's three daughters (Jacqueline and her endless legs as Ganga, Lisa Haydon as Jamuna and Nargis as Saraswati) who're not really Batuk's, but the don's daughters; Batuk himself is a traitor and a liar who has betrayed his boss and the three daft girls; the three other strapping dudes are Batuk's real sons who're actually criminals wanting to inherit the girls' wealth.

I suppose this is why it's called HOUSEFULL 3. Maybe HOUSEFULL 3 is all about death by chaos. HOUSEFULL 3 is like a sad mime artist at Dadar station. HOUSEFULL 3 is like that annoying uncle who will keep tickling you till you either laugh or cry - or snap, in my case.

I'm not done yet.

It takes a considerable amount of weed for the writers to somehow conjure up scenarios where the three heroes must pretend to have two disabilities simultaneously at any point. Or to come up with airheaded quirks for each character - the girls with their literal translations ('Limelight' becomes 'nimbu ki roshni', 'Calm Down' becomes 'naukri neechey', 'We Are Not Kidding' becomes 'hum log bachcha nahi bana rahe hai' - and so on and so chauthi {see what I did there?}, and Batuk with his horrid puns ("Hamesha khush rehna chahiye; Gambhir toh Gautam bhi hai").

And it takes a considerable amount of self-righteousness to be deliberately offensive about diseases, physical disabilities and racial abuse (boys who sleep with black housemaids are disowned) relentlessly throughout the film, only to make your pretty puppets eventually beg for forgiveness from Jesus in a church: "We lied for love, not for money." We get it, you upholders of subtlety and life lessons. If there was ever a more meta moment this year, I'll watch Humshakals and Himmatwala thrice over. Wipe those smug smirks of your faces, Farhad and Sajid (or are you one person?).

There's no point writing about the performances. They're all on an extended British holiday, being paid to behave like sugar-addled nincompoops at a funfair. What's not to love? (or hate, if you've paid for a ticket to watch rich stars vacationing abroad)

At some point in our checkered cinematic history, these 'multi-starrers' may have come across as harmlessly funny fluff for families looking for three hours of air-conditioned comfort. Housefull wasn't half as unfunny as this one, Housefull 2 even had an idiotically hysterical sequence involving a snoring crocodile (always gets me), but this one only has a bunch of circus acts gallivanting around in Madame Tussauds museums. Even Aishwarya Rai makes a cameo, or was it her wax figure? As did Salman Khan. I'm pretty sure it was he, as stiff as ever. A chunky Chunkey Pandey's statue appears too, reprising his Aakhri-Pasta act. Or was it really Chunkey?

I can't forget this one. I just cannot let bygones be bai-gones.

Cue slave joke. Cue crickets chirping.

First published: 3 June 2016, 2:49 IST
Rahul Desai @ReelReptile

Rahul Desai is a full-time Federer enthusiast and avid traveller who absolutely must find a way to reach Europe once a year. In his spare time, he reviews films, aspires to own a swimming pool and whines about the lack of palatable food in Mumbai.