Oh Baby Review (No Spoilers): Best Part About it Is Samantha’s Costumes

Yesterday I treated myself to a double bill, because I had the day off work and it’s super hot so I wanted movie theater air conditioning. This was a kind of random pick based on showtimes and the trailer looking cute. I don’t exactly regret watching it, but I’m also not super happy I did.

This is a movie that was just lazy. The songs were lazy, the directing was lazy, the script was lazy. The only thing that wasn’t lazy was the central performance. And the costume designer for the central performance. Samantha was great, and her clothes were great, but besides that I kind of felt like I was wasting my money. No, more than that, being tricked out of my money by lazy people who didn’t care enough to investigate the possibilities of their premise.

Image result for oh baby telugu

This is one of those movies where I kept checking my watch, waiting for the twist that I was sure would be coming, and then it never did, it kept going in a completely predictable fashion. And eventually I was just checking my watch waiting for it to be over. Traditional family roles are upheld, so are traditional gender roles, and traditional age roles. Every time it comes close to crossing a line into saying something objectionable, it gets scared and runs back into the safety of how things have always been.

This is one of those movies where I wonder if someone somewhere had greater ambitions for it. Because there are these little moments that made me sit up and take notice, and then the narrative just brushes right past them. Open questions, loose ends, places the film could have explored and just chose not to. Instead, the same old familiar questions and answers are used again and again.

I was super bored, but everyone in the theater around me was laughing their heads off. Why? Part of it was language, certainly, it’s a Telugu movie so I didn’t even have my slight knowledge of Hindi to help me out, there were whole lines of dialogue I was missing entirely because the subtitles didn’t bother with them. But part of it was also laughing at the familiar situations and familiar issues “ha-ha, that is just like my grandmother.”

But like I said, great costumes

That’s where I felt the laziness most. You can get a cheap laugh by taking a familiar situation and showing it again and again until the audience laughs through recognition. But you can get a better laugh by taking a familiar situation and showing its absurdities, the problems with it, taking it a step further and giving your joke an actual punchline instead of just a set-up. That’s what this film lacked, the punchline. We have a series of situations, but there is no point to them, they all just bring us back where we started. Just like every joke is simply “ha-ha, here is a thing” and then it moves on.

For example, at one point our old-woman-in-a-young-woman’s-body confronts a woman she sees buying formula at a grocery store, asking her why she isn’t breastfeeding. There was a big laugh of recognition from the audience because old woman do that in Indian culture and it is surprisingly different but familiar to see a young woman do it in the way an old woman would. And then I kept waiting for the second half, for the mother to give a snappy retort to our heroine and show how the new generation has something to say as well, they just choose not to say it to an older person. Or for her to be taken by store security because it is strange when a young woman does this and that makes us realize that it is also strange when an old woman does it. Or for a third person to show up, maybe another old woman, and lecture both of them on reasons that a mother may need to supplement with formula. But none of that happens. It is just funny because it is familiar but not. There is no interrogation of why people do this, of if it is good or bad, of if there is a problem here that needs to change.

I suppose you could make a movie that is set entirely within familiar worlds and still make it entertaining. That’s what songs are for, and romantic chemistry, and great dialogue, and so on and so forth. It keeps us going even when we have seen this same story over and over before. But in this case, nothing. The songs are pretty dull and unmemorable (especially bad since it is supposed to be a movie with a music plot in it), the characters never seem to have much chemistry, I suppose the dialogue (based on how the people around me were laughing) is good but that might be the only thing. If you don’t speak Telugu, don’t bother.

No chemistry
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16 thoughts on “Oh Baby Review (No Spoilers): Best Part About it Is Samantha’s Costumes

  1. Also isn’t this a story that has been told over and over and over? The changing clothes scene, the shopping scene etc and that’s just from what you put up. Frankly, when I tell “outsiders” I love Indian film, this is what they think they are all like. ….

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    • There is a slight twist to it, but yeah, it’s pretty dull.

      On Fri, Jul 5, 2019 at 6:08 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • I enjoyed it! I wasn’t expecting much because Nandini Reddy is pretty hit or miss as a director. But I thought it was a pretty fun movie and I thought Samantha’s performance was great.

        I do agree that the songs were mediocre though. They really should have made more of an effort with the music especially since such a big part of the plot.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. This has been getting rave reviews from what I see. You’re right, understanding the language and culture is the key. I know quite a lot of women (old and middle aged) who are critical and have an opinion on everything.

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    • This is just supporting my theory that comedy is the hardest thing to translate.

      On Sat, Jul 6, 2019 at 1:11 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  3. While on Telugu directors,this interview by Arjun Reddy/Kabir Singh is the vilest thing I have seen anywhere of a filmmaker. Even Kangana isnt this insecure or arrogant in interviews.

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    • Yeah, I’m having a hard time convincing myself to even write the second review.

      On Sat, Jul 6, 2019 at 1:51 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  4. You were spot on with the last paragraph – the movie reviews in Telugu are all about praising Samantha and the dialogue writer. Also, the comedy was fresh, far from the skit-based vulgar comedy being included in other Telugu movies off late.

    I hope you’re aware that this movie is a remake of a Korean movie with changes made for Telugu nativity. Probably, the heart of the story was lost while adapting to Telugu nativity.

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    • Yeah, and I was also thinking that the Korean movie was probably about half as long. If we just had a light touch on several of these storylines instead of really hitting them hard and driving them home

      On Mon, Jul 8, 2019 at 4:37 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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