Prince Movie Review: A reasonably effective mindless comedy
As long as the gags keep flowing in, we are effectively distracted from the criminally under-written screenplay and lacklustre staging, but, when it doesn't the mistakes are glaring
Remember Mirchi Shiva's intro scene in Thamizh Padam 2 where he goes on a monologue about many things random? Did it make you laugh? Or did it make you roll your eyes? If it worked for you, you are in for a ride with Prince, which is a marathon of such humour. Is it unfair to judge a film based on the efficiency of one element? Perhaps not, considering this is the main takeaway of this film.
Director: Anudeep KV
Cast: Sivakarthikeyan, Maria Riaboshapka, Sathyaraj
The humour won't come across as a shocker to those who have watched Anudeep's sophomore feature, Jathi Ratnalu. Be it the naivete in romance, the over-enthusiastic body language, or even the floral print shirts, it is hard not to notice similarities between Sivakarthikeyan's Anbu and Naveen Polisehetty's Jogipet Srikanth.
The plot of Prince is generic and predictable. A Tamil boy from a family of British haters falls in love with a... Britisher! And naturally, a series of crazy events prevent them from getting together. Another film with a story like this--and an uninspiring screenplay--might have sunk without trace, but he tremendous focus on nonsensical humour keeps Prince afloat.
The non-stop jokes, however, don't always land as intended. A number of attempts do fall flat but not so much that the good parts get affected. When Sathyaraj's wife anxiously asks him, "Ungalukku enna dhaan venum?", he replies, "Nee inga irundhu ponum!" Whenever the film shifts to this rhyme zone, the jokes fail. But a few minutes into the film, I became kinder, as the outlandish portions are brilliant. A case in point is the whole sequence involving a bottle gourd.
For 'mokkai' comedy to work, listeners must get used to context and the identity of the person cracking the jokes. This is why inside jokes among friends work, and why it feels absurd for outsiders. It also helps when celebrated stars (Sivakarthikeyan and Sathyaraj) are cast humour. I really doubt if Prince would have been as efficient if not for these two actors. But sadly, the same can't be said about the rest. Even though Maria gets the lip-sync game almost right, her performance feels right out of a highschool drama. Premgi Amaren, in a non-Venkat Prabhu film, once again doesn't work.
As long as the gags keep coming, we remain distracted from the criminally under-written screenplay and lacklustre staging. But the flaws become extremely glaring when the film focusses, for instance, on the romance. The story is stagnant, and interesting angles--like Jessica (Maria) asking Anbu why he falls for her--are not explored well.
Anudeep cleverly saves the best humour for the last act. The extended farewell speech of Anbu revives the film from a painful second act. Without giving away much, this last speech of Prince is absurdity in its most tasteful form.
The title Prince doesn't bear much relevance to the actual film, except as a tribute to its star actor. Had Anudeep stuck to just mindless fun, without getting distracted by angles like the bland romance, this Prince might have won everyone's heart.