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The Final Cut

Kick packs no punch; Sex Tape should probably be erased.

The Final Cut

Kick **

Dir: Sajid Nadiadwala

Starring: Salman Khan, Jacqueline Fernandes, Randeep Hooda, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Mithun Chakraboty

Kick has been going gangbusters at the box-office and breaking all sorts of records. So, obviously, it’s pleased the Salman Khan hardcore fans as well as a big chunk of the rest of the cine-going public. Unfortunately, however, box-office success is no yardstick by which to judge the quality of a movie – otherwise The Transformers franchise would have racked up innumerable Oscars by now.

The trailers for Salman Khan’s latest starrer and super-producer Sajid Nadiadwala’s directorial debut made it look like slick, sleek, sexy fun. Possibly Salman’s best since his career revitalising Dabangg. But the movie comes nowhere close to delivering on what the trailers were promising. Admittedly, it is slightly better than the beyond awful Ready, Bodyguard and this year’s Jai Ho but it still falls way behind Dabangg or even Ek Tha Tiger and Dabangg 2. The script (never really a strong point in Salman Khan’s movies), revolving around a cop’s (Randeep Hooda) pursuit of a super-crook (Khan), lurches unevenly and unconvincingly from comedy to romance to action to melodrama. The plot is full of loopholes and Salman also makes the odd choice of affecting a weird laugh for his character which makes him look demented, for lack of a better word. However, the movie does have some saving graces. Randeep Hooda is very good and Nawazuddin Siddiqui (from the evidence so far he is this generation’s Naseeruddin Shah) is superb in a small but pivotal role. Jacqueline Fernandes and Nargis Fakhri (in an item number) bring the sexy (Fernandes’ ability to do the splits is impressive though Fakhri’s dancing skills have a long way to go yet) and some of the action scenes aren’t too bad (Ek Tha Tiger’s were better) though the trailers give you the best ones, anyway. The soundtrack is just about adequate, though.

One other thing bothered me about the movie. Salman Khan’s character, Devi Lal, isn’t really a bad guy – basically just a Robin Hood, stealing from the rich to give to the poor. But in one chase sequence his actions result in a police helicopter blowing up – with a policeman inside it. Doesn’t that make Devi Lal responsible for the death of an innocent man? Shouldn’t there be some consequences for that?

Cut to chase: Salman’s latest provides no kick to the discerning viewer.

 

Sex Tape *

Dir: Jake Kasdan

Starring: Cameron Diaz, Jason Segel, Rob Lowe, Jack Black, Robb Corddry, Ellie Kemper

sextape2Sex Tape is the second teaming of director Jake Kasdan and leads Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel (from TV’s How I Met Your Mother) after Bad Teacher, a broad, crude comedy which didn’t particularly have anything in it that would make me recommend it. Unfortunately, Sex Tape is even worse.

At least Bad Teacher had its moments, such as a reasonably amusing performance by Lucy Punch. However, unless you want to see more (ahem!) of Cameron Diaz than you have in any movie prior  – which, I suppose, could prove enticing enough a prospect for some fans – then there really is no reason to see this decidedly unfunny comedy. A young, married couple make a sex tape (the movie’s title is kind of a give-away, so I don’t think I’m spoiling the plot in any way) as a way of reviving their flagging sex lives. But thanks to the vagaries of the world wide web the same tape makes it out to online reality of today’s world. There’s a whole complicated bit about how Jay (Segel) gifts his old Apple iPads (hello, product placement!) to friends and family and how all these iPads are linked to Jay’s new one through the cloud. And hence the sex video getting out there.

This is as flimsy a premise as I can think of (and just how does a not-particularly rich couple afford this endless purchasing of iPads?) and the movie gets more and more implausible as it goes along as Jay and Annie (Diaz) try and retrieve all the gifted iPads. The comedy is extremely forced and there wasn’t a single scene which I found funny. On top of that, I just didn’t buy the movie’s attempt of giving us a message at the end (with Jack Black as the owner of porn website acting as the mouthpiece). If you want to make a broad sex comedy then just make a broad sex comedy. Don’t try and hedge your bets by trying to wrap it up as a morality tale.

Cut to chase: Strictly for Cameron Diaz fans.

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Khusro Mumtaz

The writer can be reached at [email protected] or @KhusroMumtaz

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