housefull3Director: Farhad-Sajid
Cast: Akshay Kumar, Riteish Deshmukh, Abhishek Bachchan, Jacqueline Fernandez, Lisa Haydon, Nargis Fakhri, Boman Irani

The ‘creative’ oars of the Housefull franchise have changed hands from Sajid Khan to the writing-directing duo of Farhad-Sajid. Has that made any difference to the quality of the comedy on offer? The answer is: No.

Housefull 3 uses pretty much the standard slapstick devices in a bid to ramp up the hilarity quotient, but botches up the attempt by resorting to jokes directed at physical and mental disabilities.

The three lead actors Akshay Kumar, Riteish Deshmukh and Abhishek Bachchan play losers who want to get rich quick by marrying the daughters of a wealthy London shipping tycoon.

But there is a hitch: wedding isn’t on the cards for the three girls because their dad is convinced that marriage is an institution best avoided because it only brings bad luck.

The three guys pose as ‘disabled’ in order to make their way into the rich man’s home, if not into his heart.

Inane gags, banal dialogue and rudimentary acting styles robs this film of whatever chances it had of being a tolerable laugh riot.

The three heroines Jacqueline Fernandez, Lisa Haydon and Nargis Fakhri are garrulous, woolly-headed spinsters who allow the men around them to take them for granted.

Completing the bleak picture of mindlessness are three black housemaids who are, directly and indirectly, mocked by all and sundry.

Nothing, however, is more objectionable in Housefull 3 than its blatant insensitivity to disability. One character plays a wheelchair-bound cripple, another pretends to be blind, and the third dons the garb of a mute man.

One of these three men is a manic-depressive to boot. He flies into a rage every time India is mentioned in front him and his split personality disorder, like all the other disabilities toyed with in Housefull 3, is meant to be taken as a joke.

It is ironic that while disclaimers about smoking, drinking and treatment of animals are mandatory in Indian films, comedies such as this one are allowed to get away with mocking the physically and mentally challenged.

The overall quality of the acting in Housefull 3 is only marginally better than the writing. But that isn’t saying much.

Hamming is the order of the day with Akshay Kumar turning in a performance in which he has to use his limbs more than his facial muscles.

Riteish and Abhishek, equally physical, add their bit to the mayhem. Boman Irani does nothing in this film that he has not done before in a career built around playing oddballs.

The actresses, too, get their share of the footage, but they aren’t allowed to be much more than vacuous glamour dolls strutting around with the sole purpose of keeping the ball rolling.

That, in a way, is how Housefull 3 is meant to go like a big ball of wool left to unspool in ways over which nobody seems to have any real control.

While the pace of the film is generally healthy, its comic energy flags every so often. Housefull 3 is salvaged somewhat by a wacky climax in a warehouse of wax models.

But that isn’t enough to dispel the bitter aftertaste of a first half dominated by unpalatable gags.