I saw it! I do NOT recommend it! Once again, Akshay managed to somehow suck all the goodness from a film.
As we all know, this is a movie about fertility, sex stuff, and pregnancy. And those three things are innately hilarious and everyone is uncomfortable with them. No, wait, that’s not true at all. Those three things are just things, you have to do some work to make them funny. And you have to do some character work to explain why the characters are uncomfortable. This film was NOT interested in doing that work.
Going back in time a bit, in the early 2000s suddenly fertility comedy was every where. Probably because fertility technology had reached a tipping point where it became a common experience. IVF is still not that common, in 2006 1% of births in America were achieved through IVF. Which means it isn’t unheard of but still isn’t exactly universal. But what became increasingly universal was the process of going to a fertility specialist.
Friends, Mad About You, Will and Grace, even the British sitcom Coupling, they all went through the same beats of giving a sperm sample and having it tested, the stress of waiting for the news, the stress of trying to get pregnant on certain days of the month, all of the various parts of the process were thrown into comedies until they became a “thing”. Culminating in Frasier which made a joke of a couple preparing for all of this and then being surprised when they simply became pregnant in the course of a single episode.
This movie has a lot of English dialogue thrown in, and is set among the Bombay elite who have jobs like entertainment reporter and luxury car salesman. And who have the money to try IVF (which I assume is a lot cheaper in India than in America because medical care is always cheaper, but which I also assume is not covered by insurance as it might be in America). All of this tells me that this film is aimed at the multiplex Westernized audience. Which means they have already seen Friends, and probably at least some of the others I rattled off up there. Which means you can’t just say “ha! Sperm sample!” and make that the end of the joke. Up your game!
I’m also gonna say the film needs to up its game in terms of the medical part of it. Forget the “wrong sperm in wrong embryo, hahahahahaha!” part. I can forgive one big suspension of disbelief for the sake of the plot. It’s all the little stuff that bothers me. Like, one character is having IVF after a series of miscarriages. I’ve never gone through fertility anything, but I know people, and I watch stuff, and I exist in the world, and that doesn’t sound right to me. IVF would just give her an embryo, that wasn’t her problem, right? So it would be other treatments that would be the big thing for her? Or the process of hormone shots is brushed past in half a line of dialogue and never shown. That’s a BIG DEAL, right? Like, it’s painful and difficult and stressful and has a big health effect on the woman? But no, nothing involved there so far as this film is concerned.
Maybe it’s because everyone involved is too close? Karan the producer had his babies by a surrogate, so obviously he went through part of this. Kareena and Akshay both had children later in life so presumably at the least they went to a fertility doctor and were checked out and learned about treatments. Maybe it is the vacation slide show issue? All of this seems fascinating and funny and interesting to them because they went through it, and there was no one in the room to say “wait, why should the audience care?” And also the rose tinted glasses problem, they don’t remember the hormone shot horribleness or the heartbreak and stress, because they have their babies now, so that part is just erased. Again, I’ve never gone through fertility-anything, but I cried and I laughed at plenty of fertility stories other places because they made me care.
We can’t buy the premise without understanding just why these two couples are so desperate for this pregnancy. But it isn’t an impossible issue. Kareena, Diljit, and Kiara are able to sell the emotion they feel even if the script doesn’t give them reasons. And the drama moments work even if the comedy doesn’t. I have to admit, even the process of dealing with the central conflict makes sense to me, and I really like the way the different characters react and change over the film. So, it’s not a terrible hopeless movie!
And then there’s Akshay. This is yet another movie with the Akshay magnetic field drags everyone else out of balance. Any time one of the other actors reaches for an emotional truth, his big face swings into frame and stomps all over it. Any time there’s a situation with a hope for comedy, there’s Akshay repeating the joke five times until we are sick of it. It’s just terrible. A script that is already flawed, and then the Akshay Effect makes it totally useless.
But I don’t want to end on a downer note! Kiara and Diljit are amazingly good. To the point that it causes a problem because we like and understand their couple far more than the Point of View couple Kareena and Akshay. Kareena continues to get better with age, just luminous on film and capable of telling a whole emotional saga with just a flicker of the eye. And like I said, against all expectations, they kind of pull off the resolution of the central conflict. So you can watch the movie for all of that stuff, just check your phone during the Akshay scenes.