I did it! I watched Style! Angie’s favorite Big Dumb Fun Hunks movie! And it is, as promised, a Big Dumb Fun Hunks movie. Also, there’s cars.
You know how sometimes the roar of a powerful engine, and the loving way a camera skates past the frame of a car, feels kind of similar to the flexing of biceps and the loving way a camera skates past a man’s chest? This is a movie that is all about that slippage. Unni Mukundan is super muscular, eats protein powder, works out, and also naturally can drive strong and powerful in a strong and powerful car. Tovino Thomas has a classic black muscle car, and also naturally can beat up a dozen men using only a book. The car is the man and the man is the car, and car and man are both Good.
Not being a car person, much of this film went completely over my head. I am sure there was something about engine strength and speed and clever driving that I was supposed to be marveling at, but no. On the other hand, I did marvel at the chests and biceps and stuff, so the movie wasn’t a total loss for me. And it is perfectly beautiful DUMB.
As are our heroes! Unni Mukundan is a big dumb beefcake delight in this. He drinks protein shakes and has a war of minds with his 6 year old little brother (they are evenly matched). He falls in love at first sight, and then is too shy and insecure to get her phone number. He spends a lot of time smiling dopily and flexing his chest muscles under a thin t-shirt.
And Tovino is EVILLLL! Remember when Tovino was evil? He started out playing the rich pretty boy villain, and then slooooooooowly transitioned to “naive cute hero”. Anyway, he’s evil in this. And kind of skinny, but I will forgive it. Mustache, cool rich dude clothes, unbreakable sneer. Cold and without feelings and hard. Kind of a dreamboat in an S & M “fun to fantasize but I wouldn’t want it in real life” kind of way. Oh, and he isn’t super super SUPER evil. I thought he was for a second, because I got confused, but then I understood that there is a second villain who is super super SUPER evil, and Tovino is just a little bit selfish evil.
Anyway, adorable small child, sweet nice soft muscle hero, sneering villain, lots of cars, and no yucky stuff about the heroine (she has a job, she is smart, the hero doesn’t stalk her, and the villain doesn’t rape or even harass her). No wonder Angie likes it!
Oh, and QUESTION!!!! There is a scene in here about the challenge of when the small child gets his penis caught in a zipper while getting dressed and his Mom has to help him. Is this a thing, DCIB Mothers of Small Boys? If so, how very unpleasant all around and another reason penises are difficult!
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Ready for a great dumb plot? Our hero Unni falls in love at first sight with a girl who has a girl car. He tracks her down by the car, “bumps into her” at a mall but forgets to get her number, then meets her again with his cute little brother and the cute little brother gets her number. They start hanging out and are in love. Meanwhile, our villain Tovino is very wealthy and powerful and loves his classic car. One day our heroine accidentally rear ends him, he gets out of his car, breaks her windshield, and hits her, then drives off. Our hero witnesses this, rushes over, drives the heroines car and catches up with Tovino and Big Fight Scene. Then they have to hide the car, Tovino is trying to find them, whole thing. In the middle of this, the heroine’s Honest Lawyer Father is caught up in a rape case against a big police officer. The police officer kidnaps the heroine, and Adorable Small Child, Unni rescues them, the Tovino shows up (unrelated), another Big Fight Scene, and Happy Ending.
So what we have here is two guys fighting about cars. It’s the perfect plot. And along the sides, a cute bratty little kid who still loves his big brother and vice versa even while they are fighting. And we have a romance that is about Unni being insecure and shy, while the girl smiles at him and takes the lead. And we have surprisingly good fight scenes! The director went for the “clever editing to hide flawed fight choreography” route, and it works great! Stuff like, a cut from a guy rushing to stab Tovino to a book with the knife in it, so our minds fill in the gap of Tovino raising the book like lightening and blocking the knife.
Also, Rape is Bad!!!! Woo-hoo!!! Following the strange “very good or very bad” dynamic of Kerala films, there are other movies where rape, it turns out, is NOT bad! Or at least not so bad that everyone has to change their lives about it. Like Law Point, where our “hero” lawyer is introduced ripping apart a rape victim on the stand and getting her case overturned. Just part of life, easy mistake, he will grow and learn after that. And then in this movie, we have multiple people risking their lives to protect the evidence in a rape case, because rape is Bad. Like totally absolutely bad, no excuse for protecting the rapists.
The rape bit isn’t introduced in the smoothest way, but it is there at least, and positioned as a super horrible thing to do which is a sign of super horrible all around evil. Tovino is sending his men around looking for Unni and the car, but it’s left open that he just wants to beat him up or something. He isn’t looking to kidnap Tovino’s family. That’s for Evil Rapist Man, Unrelated to Everything Else. We have a little scene early on, showing the heroine meeting her father after he had talked to a friend about taking over a case and holding on to the files. And we have a random scene unconnected to everything else showing two men talking about the case against one of them (rapist says “I am so ashamed and embarrassed, I just want this to go away so it doesn’t bring down my family name” BOO-Freakin’-HOO! I feel SOOOO bad for you! And since the rest of the movie positions him as Evil, I think we are supposed to see the stupidity of that statement). And then, like 2/3rds in, the heroine is kidnapped and the hero realizes it is about the law case, not the Tovino car thing.
Oh, and there is a little twist to the romance that I LOVE!!! Tovino sees the heroine in her car at a traffic light and falls in love. Remembers the car (of course) and eventually finds her again at the mall. Where he scams her by seeming to talk to her, “don’t buy that one, get the green one”, and then whens he confronts him, showing that he was actually talking on a bluetooth. Thus starting a conversation. But he forgets to get her phone number because he is a big soft dummy. They meet again, he gets her number, and then she sees him waiting at a bus stop and offers him a ride, she routinely starts offering him rides, they start dating, and so on.
After alllllllllllllllllllllll of this, late in the film, she asks him if he remembers they first time they met, he says yes at the mall, she says no actually. Before that, she was sitting in a cafe with her friend playing with her camera, and she saw him outside the cafe in the rain playing soccer with some kids. She took photos of him, and saved them. Look at that! For once, the twist is, the GIRL was the creepy stalker love at first sight! Sure, he set up their meeting at the mall, but she was into it. And she made sure he got her phone number the next time. And she was the one driving around to bus stops and giving him rides. SO CUTE!
So, yeah, if you are in the mood for a movie about two guys fighting over cars, with a sweet romance, and lots of muscles, and a tiny little boy, watch this! For Happiness.