Let's face it. We like mindless comedies, innuendos, and slapstick humour. Proof: No Entry, Welcome, Singh is Kinng.
But not everyone can entertain while being loud.
And that's why Kambakkht Ishq, starring Akshay Kumar and Kareena Kapoor, is as far from entertaining as the North Pole is from the South.
The story has nothing to talk about. Akshay is commitment-phobic rock star of a stunt-man who is dead against marriage. As is Kareena, an aspiring surgeon. Their clashing egos lead to one trying to upstage the other.
But the plot has such gaping holes that a train can disappear through it.
So Kareena, who takes up modelling assignments to pay for her medical degree, prances around in Sex and The City-inspired heels and designer togs, drives a Volkswagon Beetle convertible, and travels business class.
And, on the basis of a flimsy complaint by her, Los Angeles airport authorities get a scary-looking black policewoman to grope Akshay most inappropriately. And the turning point of the film is ridiculous -- it involves a watch, Akhay's intestines, and supreme medical negligence -- but not very funny.
There's more. Kareena, a doctor, cannot tell if she has had sex after a night with Akshay. Later, it takes Akshay's chubby stuntman brother Aftab Shivdasani's defence of Akshay's 'character' -- he did not 'exploit' her, he declares -- to convince her of his 'good intentions.'
But you notice all this only because the film is so darn bad. No one minded the hilarious but ridiculous sequences in Singh is Kinng -- Akshay's last hit.
The actor, who has had a bad box-office spell, plays a swashbuckling Hollywood stuntman who lives in a mansion, gets a pedicure by a blonde in hot pants, throws pool parties and has women literally falling for him. It's just offensive the way he flings them around, mows them down and knocks them over. They are still ready to sleep with him at the drop of a bikini top and have 'golden babies' with him.
And in true Bollywood style, all it takes is one sob story to transform this man.
Kareena, meanwhile, is not just eye-candy but a candy store in the Chanels, Pradas and the black Valentino swimsuit. Designer Aki Narula's work for her is a masterclass in styling, and she steals the scene whenever she is on. That's where it stops.
Most of the film, she is hysterical -- kicking, screaming, slapping, swearing -- and walking the LA streets in the tiniest of dresses.
That she 'hates' men and would even wreck her best friend's marriage, is just an excuse for Akshay to kiss her forcibly, pull her legs dangerously high, and for her to try to drug him, punch him and dance around him.
As Akshay asks his lackey in a scene, 'Yeh circus hai kya?'
The rest of the circus clowns include Vindu Dara Singh as Akshay's moronic sidekick, Boman Irani in a two-minute part as a deaf doctor, Jaaved Jaafrey as yet another immigrant looking to make a quick buck out of suing someone or the other, Kirron Kher as yet another large-hearted NRI aunty (give her a PhD on the role, please), and Amrita Arora as Kareena's feather-brained friend.
You could say Kambakkht Ishq is some moneybag's testosterone-fuelled fantasy come alive. It is not a battle of the sexes --- as the promos say -- but a battle for sex. The makers of this so-called romantic comedy never seem to have enough of the three-letter-word.
Women are mostly in bikinis and hot pants and shot from tantalising angles. Even Denise Richards does little else but wrap herself around Akshay at every opportunity.
Amrita Arora plays a lingerie model who wears exotic swimwear at home and refuses to let her husband even touch her because her best friend says so. And Boman Irani, hugging a bare-chested Akshay, screams: 'I am a married man, please don't confuse me!'
Oh, the other Hollywood stars -- Sylvester Stallone and Brandon Routh -- seem to simply be there for attendance. Only Stallone gets a peck from Kareena as a baddie-bashing bonus.
If the film is meant to be a spoof on the stereotypes of the bimbette, the women's libber, the MCPs and the opportunistic Indian immigrant, it is all lost somewhere in the song and dance.
The far too few laughs come mostly thanks to Vindu Dara Singh's buffoonery and the rare moments of brilliance between the seasoned lead actors. That too owes more to their comic timing than the dialogues.
The dialogues in fact let down potentially hilarious sequences (to be honest there are quite a few wasted opportunities here). None of the one-liners stay with you, except the juvenile expletives. The forced comic-style animated thought blurbs too fall flat. The songs are an assault on your eardrums, the choreography full of clichés.
The result: What could have been a delightful film with a gorgeous Kareena, Akshay's deadly stunts at the Universal Studios, and a string of guest appearances by Hollywood biggies, ends up a torture.
Kareena asks Akshay in a scene, 'How low can you go?'
This film is the answer.