Note: Like most of my movie "reviews", this one too has plenty of spoilers.
All the reviews I read for the remake of the movie Don had panned it. This was not at all a surprise to me - the promos had looked pretty silly. The reviews only reconfirmed my original opinion and I had zero intention of catching the movie in the theatre. Then, surprise, surprise, another Diwali release, Jaan-e-mann (JEM), a movie which I had not even considered as theatre-watchable, had gotten decent reviews on most web-sites. So I thought, why not go for it.
I persuaded a friend to go with me and we went to the theatre - there was a much bigger crowd for Don than for JEM - but then, Shah Rukh Khan movies always manages to pull in big crowds anyway - so I was not not disheartened. Still, I had pretty low expectations from JEM.
The movie began. Within ten minutes, I was panicking - what the heck had I gotten myself into? Because, in that short while, we had been treated to a space ship (yes, in reality, not a dream sequence), a filmfare awards ceremony and a dwarfish Anupam Kher trying really hard to be funny but failing miserably. At that point, I arranged a suitably apologetic expression on my face for the benefit of my friend and mentally cursed all those conscience-less reviewers who give such glowing reviews for undeserving movies.
The story is like this - Salman Khan is divorced from his wife Preity Zinta and is unable to pay the alimony. So his uncle Anupam Kher comes up with the brilliant idea that they should get Preity married to someone else so that Salman is freed of his obligations. Enter Akshay Kumar, who used to have a big crush on Preity during his geeky college days (all three had studied in the same college). Salman and Anupam convince Akshay that he should try to woo Preity and Akshay agrees.
So Salman and Akshay fly to New York (what is it with New York and desi movies these days?), where Preity lives . Salman stays in the background and teaches the socially inept Akshay tricks to patofy Preity. And Preity slowly begins to fall for Akshay.
All of a sudden, a baby is introduced into the picture - really, if a baby can conveniently disappear when you want to chill out after coming back from work, or want to party or go shopping or do any of the other things people without babies easily do, I am sure people would be a lot less scared of having kids. Anyways, the baby is apparently Salman and Preity's baby from their broken marriage. BTW, the baby is totally adorable and a complete scene-stealer.
Then comes the twist - surprise, surprise - Salman realizes he loves both Preity and the baby after all. Just when he decides to come clean to Akshay, Preity and Akshay get engaged after a completely irritating mandatory-for-Hindi-movies marriage-type song. So Salman decides to play martyr and leave the scene.
Then, before the wedding, Akshay discovers that the spat leading to the divorce between Salman and Preity was actually engineered by Preity's brother who did not like Salman. So Akshay decides to play martyr now (yeah, martyrdom is done on a time-sharing basis in Bollywood) and brings Salman and Preity back together. And they both (Salman and Preity) live happily everafter (along with the disappearing baby).
What about Akshay? Why, he gets together with a Russian astronaut who is a Preity lookalike and is called Preity Zintaveska!!!! And they (Akshay and Russian astronaut) live happily ever after too! The end.
I still can't pinpoint what exactly was really bad about the movie. After all, the three main characters are major eye-candies. The New York locales were very pleasing to the eye (really, NYC up and close is so dirty - but these movies make it look so drool-worthy!). A couple of scenes evoked genuine laughter.
However, to counter all that, given the latest trend of movie directors wanting to enter their movies in the longer-than-the-Mahabharatha contest, this movie goes on forever. For a story which is so cliched, that is waaay too long. The movie is also so goofy and senseless in some places that you need to do frequent reality checks to make sure that you haven't lost all your nuts! Add to it a bunch of discontinuous scenes and you have got a recipe for a headache.
Most importantly, at no point in the movie are you particularly interested in knowing what happens next - any person who has seen Bollywood movies can tell you that. How many of you really thought Akshay would get Preity in the end?
This is a movie which you could watch at home when you have absolutely no other DVD or book. It definitely is not a movie on which you would want to spend $8.50 to watch on Diwali night. I learnt that too late :-(!
p.s. If anyone has the house addresses of the Rediff reviewers who gave Jaan-e-man good reviews, please to let me know. I have surprise "gifts" for them.