'A whole lot of faffing around happens from the time Lootcase sets up its amusing premise and concludes it in a manner typical of its genre.'
'But the actors are such effortless fits for their parts, there is pleasure in this dillydallying,' observes Sukanya Verma.
A bag full of money falling in one's lap continues to be the ultimate in wishful thinking.
If anything, it reinforces how the doddering economy has compounded the common man's desperation to an unimaginable degree. One such everyman inspires the adventures in Rajesh Krishnan's Lootcase.
While returning home from his late-night shift at a printing press, Nandan (Kunal Kemmu) discovers a suitcase full of serious cash and no claimants in sight.
As always with great power comes great responsibility but our man is too much of a chump to cover his tracks.
Taunted by his wife (Rasika Dugal) at home to make more money and exploited at work to do long hours, Nandan grins and bears for the sake of Lung Fung Rice (Chinese for hanky-panky) and Employee of the Year.
Juggling business and pleasure are proving tough enough without having to stash away a jackpot he is not quite sure how to blow without anyone noticing.
It's not long before his tendency to draw unwanted attention and making things obvious lands him in trouble.
That's where Lootcase slips up.
In fact, it takes too long to get to the point where Nandan is finally facing the music for his transgressions.
All this while, two rival gangs (Vijay Raaz, Sumit Nijhawan), a shady MLA (Gajraj Rao) and a peevish cop (Ranvir Shorey) on his payroll are in hot pursuit of the missing bag, which carries something even more important than money -- incriminating information.
A whole lot of faffing around happens from the time Lootcase sets up its amusing premise and concludes it in a manner typical of its genre. But the actors are such effortless fits for their parts, there is pleasure in this dillydallying even as contrivances pile up and opportunities are lost.
On one hand, there is a perfectly ordinary husband and wife stealing moments to romance in. Kemmu's boyish simplicity beautifully complements Dugal's tender coconut mood.
There is a sensuality to her wisdom and her co-actor responds to it with oodles of charm and bribing.
Scooping fun out of his ineptitude is one of this film's bigger triumphs as is Vijay Raaz's National Geographic devouring subscriber. The splendid actor turns a juvenile gag into a good laugh as the grim, geeky gangster.
Gajraj Rao's funny not funny face of corruption makes its point well even if the shtick gets repetitive.
Ranvir Shorey's dark humour packs a punch.
All the numerous actors as sidekicks and fall guys do their bit memorably.
The wit (Kapil Sawant) works best when it doesn't try too hard, when a joke isn't crying out its lack of subtlety and announcing its funniness. What is refreshing though how innuendo free it all is.
Director Rajesh Krishnan's well-acted crime caper oscillates between black comedy and mild satire, but its uneven tone and sluggish pace never let it become greater than a sum of its parts.
Lootcase streams on Disney Hotstar.