When 'hare-brained' is an insult to hare-brains

When 'hare-brained' is an insult to hare-brains

Mr Joe B Carvalho
Hindi (U/A) ¬¬

Cast: Arshad Warsi, Jaaved Jaaferi, Soha Ali Khan, Shakti Kapoor, Vijay Raaz, Geeta Basra, Snehal Dhabi

Director: Samir Tewari

Call them PJs, “paanchat”, “khaoo”, “bhejaterian” (as in those that eat “bheja” or brains), but Bollywood never seems to tire of the brand of jokes that seriously require audiences to surgically remove their brains before entering the cinema hall. Not doing so would be an insult to the maker — both yours and the film’s.

Right off the bat, Mr Joe B Carvalho — the film as well as the Bangalore-resident character — requires you to suspend all belief as Arshad Warsi bashes up a gang of drug-peddling goons for not paying their cable TV bill, while instructing them to grow their plants in gardens and packing their flour in the kitchen.

A perfect example of the defective detective, don't you think? So our way-below-average Joe is contracted by a billionaire (Shakti Kapoor) to bring back his daughter, who has purportedly run away with a “bawarchi”.

Meanwhile, a crackpot dictator (Snehal Dhabi), for some reason named Kopa Kabana, misinterprets the signals from a Bangalore-belle (Geeta Basra), is eventually spurned by her, and now plans to stop her marriage with the help of international killer Carlos (Jaaved Jaaferi) and Delhi-based electronic goods dealer M K (Vijay Raaz), the mere mention of whose name spells death for the speaker, somewhat ala Lord Voldemort.
And trying to stop this “Big C” is Senior Inspector Shantipriya Phadnis (Soha Ali Khan), who also happens to be Joe's childhood sweetheart.

As expected, much hilarity ensues in the form of mistaken identities, misunderstandings, literal meanings of idioms, words and phrases, Jaaferi in drag for most of his screen time, visual gags that alternately make you laugh and gag, singer Babul Supriyo's acting debut and Warsi's comic timing.

Forget the songs, the locations and the screenplay: They are mere vestiges in a film that only manages to keep you seated because it runs for just 130 minutes, and manages to tickle you with your silliness, and only just about so.

Mr Joe B Carvalho is more of a midweek watch than a weekender film, and that too strictly for people who adored Andaz Apna Apna and want more films like it.

But be forewarned. The film is just a wannabe that shows debutant director Samir Tewari's potential. With more maturity, he can deliver the goods, but we will have to wait for it.

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