Rajeev Masand – movies that matter : from bollywood, hollywood and everywhere else

November 25, 2011

Lost boys

Filed under: Our FIlms — Rajeev @ 10:34 pm

November 25, 2011

Cast: Akshay Kumar, John Abraham, Deepika Padukone, Chitrangada Singh, Sanjay Dutt

Director: Rohit Dhawan

Desi Boyz stars Akshay Kumar and John Abraham as Jerry and Nick, best friends in London who lose their jobs when recession hits. Broke and desperate, they sign up to be male escorts – because naturally that’s the only job still available during a financial meltdown!

As bird-brained an idea as this may be, at least it promises not to be a prudish affair. But hell, no! Debut director Rohit Dhawan picks an unconventional premise, but doesn’t have the courage to run with it. So our hustler heroes – renamed Rocco and Hunter – might be happy to strip down to their shorts and shake their bon-bons suggestively at bachelorette parties, but bankrupt or not, their ‘Indian values’ are very much in place, hence sex is not on the menu. (Believe it or not, women pay 400 pounds to these guys for playing cards with them and chatting with them through the night!) Also, Jerry and Nick become escorts not because they’re lazy or have too much pride to do menial jobs (both of which are true, by the way), but because one has to raise an orphaned nephew, and the other has a high-maintenance fiancee demanding a fancy wedding. Poor things!

Despite this blatant hypocrisy, Desi Boyz coasts along harmlessly through its first half, with a few clever dialogues thrown in, and some pleasant chemistry between its male leads. Whoever came up with the terrific idea of giving the boys a kind of telepathic connection where they communicate without words, deserves a pat on the back. Alas, it’s an idea that’s abandoned halfway through the film.

Also abandoned at the halfway mark, is any pretense that this was trying to be a different film. Post intermission Desi Boyz becomes yet another regular ‘family entertainer’. Nick’s fiancée (Deepika Padukone) breaks up with him after a video of their naughty dance moves goes viral, and child welfare hands over Jerry’s nephew to a foster family. To win back his girl, Nick moves into a caravan that he parks in her driveway and woos her relentlessly; meanwhile Jerry decides to complete college and find a respectable job so he might convince the court that he can be a responsible guardian. Luckily for Jerry, he gets to mix up his studies with fun when he encounters a sexy Economics professor (Chitrangada Singh) who offers to tutor him strip-poker style.

The film’s idea of entertainment is some Namasatey London-style jingoistic patriotism, a smattering of homophobic jokes, some unintentionally comical lectures on love and forgiveness, and a far-too-long climatic courtroom scene that ends on an embarrassingly regressive note.

Desi Boyz borrows scenes from The Full Monty, Back To School, and Fight Club even, but at its heart it’s not very different from Sajid Khan’s similarly unremarkable Heyy Babyy. Akshay Kumar and John Abraham perform earnestly and get a few moments to shine, but the gorgeous Deepika Padukone gets none. The greatest disservice, however, is done to Chitrangada Singh. Clothed in fancy designer togs, buried under pancake, and saddled with a thankless part, the actress is robbed of her smoldering presence, and homogenized into the mould of a typical Bollywood starlet.

Yet, the film isn’t unwatchable. Pritam’s soundtrack has some winning tunes, and the musical numbers are shot deliciously. What fails Desi Boyz in the end is that it’s such a generic, indifferent film. Rohit Dhawan leaves no directorial imprint for a first-time filmmaker, and there’s little in this movie that you haven’t seen before.

I’m going with two out of five for Desi Boyz. Go in with modest expectations and perhaps you won’t come out dissatisfied.

(This review first aired on CNN-IBN)

20 Comments »

  1. Perfect Stars for a Non Perfect Film… It cud hav been much better… Stupid Rohit.. 😛

    Comment by Punit — November 25, 2011 @ 10:46 pm

  2. come on rajeev why are u so generous such terrible movies u were also way too generous on stupid movies such as bodyguard,ra.one and argubily the worst of them all’ ready ‘ .plz be honest and be the rajeev of 2007 and 08

    Comment by naresh — November 25, 2011 @ 11:30 pm

  3. akshay needs a doctor to advice him that no more silly stupid comedy movies try some action thrillers

    Comment by naresh — November 25, 2011 @ 11:35 pm

  4. ok review, but i think chitranga looked hot and she was clearly having a bit off fun than just being serious in art movies. sometimes you need that.

    Comment by faraal — November 26, 2011 @ 12:18 am

  5. totally agree with naresh..he should do some action thrillers now..its time..nd naresh he’s doing an action movie directed by ashutosh gowarikar..

    Comment by Ankur — November 26, 2011 @ 1:50 am

  6. If your idea of 'boys gone desi' is tearing out of one's clothes and jumping into a mix of disco bhangra that is supposed to charm women mindlessly, you know which movie to watch this weekend.

    Comment by Sugel — November 26, 2011 @ 4:07 am

  7. Ppl,
    R u all arty-farty world-cinema fakers???
    do u even know what entertainment means????
    Rajeev….. man….. u can never ever understand a Masala Bollywood movie…. i pity u.. and ur countless , brainless followers…
    I enjoyed the movie to the hilt….. Kudos to Rohit Dhawan.. he had the brains to get some clever lines and extract better chemistry out of the 2 male leads…. even the jokes are not vulgar my friend.. now where do u find such comedies in this time???
    this is a full-on entertainer…. go for it ppl…

    Comment by Rohan G — November 26, 2011 @ 4:19 am

  8. following u since vry long….and almost all the time…i agree with u…just like today 🙂 it could have been a path breaking film…though Oops of deepak tijori couldnt do anything at time..
    indian values nd bollywoodish melodrama killed it…seeing my fav chitrangada like this was terrible 🙁
    just like you after watching its 1st promo…i am waiting so despratly for…the dirty picture now….

    Comment by Jignesh — November 26, 2011 @ 11:35 am

  9. ….seems Rajeev has taken brickbats from the bollywood seriously….hence the appeasement policy……bakwas movie sud be written off as bakwas…..as simple…

    Comment by Kamal — November 26, 2011 @ 7:13 pm

  10. last nite i went to home and thought deeply…………….are such big so called promising films do respect mine fathers 200 bucks……………………salman,sharukh and now akshey give me back my 2oo bucks ………….my father needs it

    Comment by jiwan — November 26, 2011 @ 8:27 pm

  11. are you kidding me 2 stars?

    Comment by vic — November 26, 2011 @ 11:09 pm

  12. cmon guys this movie deserves a better star rating.if ra one was two star this should be twenty atleast 🙂

    The performances arre good and the plot is new and has smooth screenplay.

    Music is exceptionally good and it has all the nice songs in a good bollywood movie.

    its entertaining and can be watched happily once.Thank god john is dancing happily atlast and anupam was used less and omi shines after three idiots.

    nice time pass movie he.watch it…

    Comment by amar reddy — November 26, 2011 @ 11:51 pm

  13. Telepathic conversation is a direct rip-off from the Sitcom How I Met Your Mother… But the movie was much better than what Akshay has served in the past 3 years…

    Comment by Rahul — November 27, 2011 @ 11:48 am

  14. agreed in all terms…but rajeev you forgot a sequence which was liberally borrowed from a pepsi ad…the one in which akshay kumar goes for the interview.
    christ sake, please develop standards bollywood…you can do much better!!!

    Comment by taief — November 28, 2011 @ 4:48 am

  15. Loved the movie!!! Akshay n John were rocking 🙂

    Comment by Swati — November 30, 2011 @ 9:52 am

  16. rajeev i think, if u have given two star to this film…..then for ready and bodyguard like useless movies,in which thr is no humour,it should be -2 star,,….please rajeev be fair and give some true views……dont be one sided,i have seen this film with my frns,and we all liked it…it was good movi and gracefull performance by akshay….

    Comment by akash — December 2, 2011 @ 7:41 pm

  17. very boring and pathetic movie..200% flop..another disaster from akshay kumar.akki should retire from bollywood..

    Comment by d2 — December 4, 2011 @ 12:17 am

  18. thank you for ruining sweet child o mine, big daddy , HIMYM etc dhawan junior , and i really appreciate your verbal assault filled bloopers parallel to the credits which show us the true standard of our heroes .

    Comment by Nirmal — December 8, 2011 @ 1:38 pm

  19. I completely disagree with Rohan G.
    He is not mature enough to know what a film is.

    Comment by Shantanu — December 9, 2011 @ 8:33 am

  20. Rohan G must have some relation with Rohit Dhawan.
    This is another nonsense comedy movie of Akshay Kumar.
    Perfect rating by Rajeev.
    Akshay should stop doing same comedy act again and again.
    Its no more funny.

    Comment by Biman Saha — January 19, 2012 @ 8:42 pm

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