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Aug 15, 2009 at 02:35am IST

Masand's movie review: Life Partner

Cast: Govinda, Fardeen Khan, Tusshar Kapoor, Genelia D'souza, Prachi Desai

Director: Rumi Jaffery

There was a time Govinda used to be the funniest guy on screen. You could count on him to take an ordinary scene and turn it into something hilarious on the strength of his remarkable comic timing.

Those days, of course, are long gone. The Govinda you see on screen today struggles to make you laugh.

In Life Partner, directed by Rumi Jaffery, Govinda stars as a cynical divorce lawyer who's convinced his best friends - played by Fardeen Khan and Tusshar Kapoor - have made the biggest mistake of their lives by getting married.

His buddies couldn't care less about his opinion, but when their respective marriages - to Genelia D'souza and Prachi Desai - hit the rocks, they turn to him to help them with divorce proceedings.

Neither smart nor funny, Life Partner is a recycled mess of so many similar films directed by David Dhawan in the mid-nineties which Govinda himself starred in.

It's punishingly long for a film with no real plot and it plods along laboriously reinforcing every Hindi movie cliché you can think of - conservative in-laws clash with modern, progressive bahu; spoilt-little rich girl can't perform even the most basic chores around the house; spineless husband is torn between love for his wife and respect for his father.

You've seen all of it before.

There's a slim chance this film might not have been a complete write-off if the acting was a little inspired.

But what are the chances of that?

Govinda literally yells out his lines at the top of his voice, and he's so unforgivably unfunny, the only laughs he inspires are the unintentional ones - his costumes are too tight in all the wrong places, and his once-legendary dance steps now outdated.

To top it all he plays this Casanova who seduces every blond chick within a two-mile radius - really, there's just so much suspension of disbelief that the director can expect from us.

Competing with Govinda in the yelling department is Genelia D'souza whose squeaky dialogue delivery feels like someone dragging their nails against a blackboard.

The adorable little imp from Jaane Tu… Ya Jaane Na has turned into a nagging harridan in this film, and how you wish she'd immediately enroll for acting lessons.

There is nothing complimentary that can be said about the rest of the actors either, except that their lousy performances are luckily overshadowed by the afore-mentioned two.

Indifferently directed by a filmmaker who thinks fancy South African locales and glossy production values can make up for the absence of a sensible script, this movie is a challenge to sit through.

Sexist and offensive in portions, but plain dumb for the most part, Life Partner can be safely missed. I'm going with one out of five and a thumbs-down.

Do yourself a favour and find a better way to spend your two hundred bucks.

Rating: 1 / 5 (Poor)

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