Mr Local Review: An unimaginative love story between an annoying man and an insecure woman
The film tries to salvage 157 minutes of tiresome clichés with stale ideas, super-offensive jokes, and meaningless double entendres
Imagine still not getting that it’s far from funny to vilify women with wisecracks like, “Girlfriend is a man’s first enemy.” Imagine still objectifying them — in this case, to a ‘foreign kudhirai’. Imagine still referring to strange women with that disrespectful suffix, ‘di’, under the guise of comedy. Imagine trying to capitalise on famous Tamil cinema lines, but then picking them from dull films like 2.0 and Saamy Square. Imagine pretending to attack jingoism, while constantly exposing your indifference towards oppressed groups like women, transgender, and obese people. Imagine trying to make an idiot out of a trans man, and among other things, having him say he hates feminism.
Imagine caring so little about novelty in writing that you still define the hero’s mother as one obsessed with television serials, and the hero’s sister as one with an annoyingly chirpy presence. Imagine conjuring up accidents, literally, any time the film gets starved for organic, new developments. Imagine pretending to be a family-friendly film but still sneaking in wordplay on phrases like, “Kooti kuduthuru.” Imagine having your hero send you off to interval with a promise that goes, “Avala azha veippen da!” Imagine writing, for a hero, a man with little manners, and for a heroine, a woman with little self-esteem and plenty of free time, and then expecting us to care about their juvenile ego clashes.
Cast: Sivakarthikeyan, Nayanthara, Sathish, Robo Shankar
Imagine, in this day and age of increasing awareness over the portrayal of the vulnerable, still showing a girl being harassed, and when she reacts with anger, sexualising it by having the hero say, “Kovama paakaadha; disturb aagudhu.” Imagine still writing a comedy track about a straying husband with a dark, plump wife who gets called, “Gundu”. Imagine calling a woman ‘kulfi’ only because it rhymes with the word, ‘selfie’. Imagine being so oblivious about what the MeToo movement is that you write a man who’s frightened to ask a girl’s number because he’s worried about MeToo-related repercussions. Imagine having noisy music romanticise the hero, as he walks in slow-motion after embarrassing a woman with double entendres in front of a large gathering. Imagine following that up with one of several misplaced, purposeless songs.
Imagine making the hero profess love to the heroine only because he wants to cause her annoyance. Imagine making the heroine invite this pesky stranger for a meeting only so she can flaunt to him a list of men she has previously rejected. Imagine being seated in front of a woman you are trying to covet, and then proceeding to burp on her face. Imagine pretending to admire this woman for her courage, attitude, ambition, and dressing, only to later get overjoyed at the first sign that she’s willing to get domesticated.
Imagine somehow trying to salvage 157 minutes of clichés with the stale idea of having the hero narrate his extraordinarily dull story to an unbelievably curious French prison warden, as they walk on a seemingly never-ending corridor.
Ultimately, imagine bringing together talented actors like Sivakarthikeyan and Nayanthara, and then making Mr. Local.