The Housefull franchise has a lot to live up to in terms of box office collections. The first two parts were runaway hits. For the Sajid-Farhad duo, which gained mass acclaim by penning dialogues for superhits such as ‘Chennai Express’, ‘Ready’ and ‘Golmaal 3’, sticking to the same formula would appear to be a safe ploy for success. But does the third edition of this hugely popular  franchise live up to the hype?

 

 

This is how it goes. Batuk Patel (Boman Irani) is a millionaire London resident who doesn’t want his daughters – Ganga (Jacqueline Fernandez), Jamuna (Lisa Haydon) and Saraswati (Nargis Fakhri) - to get married, though each of them has a boyfriend.

 

Ganga’s boyfriend Sandy/Sundy (Akshay Kumar) is an aspiring footballer with a split personality.  Jamuna’s guy Teddy (Riteish Deshmukh) is an F1 racer, while Saraswati is dating Bunty (Abhishek Bachchan), a struggling rapper.

 

Because of a prediction by the girls' family astrologer (played by Chunky Pandey), the three boyfriends are compelled to act crippled, blind and dumb respectively to gain access to their lady loves. Here the narrative takes a turn for the funnier.

 

Like most screwball comedies, this one too is marginally hackneyed and unoriginal. The guffaws it elicits are sporadic and although the dialogue is delightfully droll, most of it is rehashed WhatsApp jokes.

 

A lot comes across as disjointed and desultory. The climax is flat and flaky and a huge letdown - it is not a patch on the madcap finales of earlier Akshay starrers, such as ‘Hera Pheri’, ‘Welcome’ and ‘Bhagam Bhag’.

 

Of the four songs, only ‘Pyar Ki’ is hummable. The cinematography by Vikas Sivaraman is first-rate, but the editing could have been more incisive, especially in the second half.

 

Akshay quite effortlessly steals the show. His quirky comic timing triumphs over the often-banal dialogues he has to mouth. He alone makes this watchable. Riteish is likeable as Teddy and turns in a decent performance. But Abhishek is ill at ease in comic scenes and fails to impress. His dialogue delivery is stiff and expressions are laboured.

 

As usual, Boman Irani is fabulous. Among the female leads, Jacqueline looks gorgeous and effervescent. She is improving as an actor with each movie. Nargis Fakhri and Lisa Haydon are purely eye candy, and little else.

 

On the whole, the third Housefull is a tolerable entertainer with some sprightly performances, but lacks the wacky fizz. An ordinary climax and a tepid Abhishek are two of its biggest sore points. Watch it once for the rumbustious Akshay, if you have nothing better to do.