- Movie Name:Good Newwz
- Critics Rating: 3.5 / 5
- Release Date: Dec 27, 2019
- Director: Raj Mehta
- Genre: Comedy
For those who have binge-watched and survived on F.R.I.E.N.D.S for years (and maybe decades altogether), Deepti and Varun Batra may look like an Indian offshoot of Monica and Chandler -- a childless couple that is trying every trick in the book (you know which one ;) ) to get pregnant. And Varun's less mobile swimmers cannot survive in Deepti's inhospitable environment -- much like Mondler's case.
But 'Good Newwz' is based in India, so adoption won't even be an option. Leave alone being an option, the possibility of raising a child that does not have your genes is not even explored in the entire narrative of the film. Because, 'apna khoon toh apna hota hai' -- a line you would be slapped with at least thrice in the runtime of 132 minutes of the film.
And since the film is based in India, the 'society ka darr' and 'parivaar ki izzat' will take a prominence over legalities when the posh In-Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) clinic in Mumbai commits a gaffe and ends up interchanging Varun's sperm with another Batra.
Come to think of it, had Mondler gone for an IVF process, and the centre had mixed up their samples, it could have made for a multi-million settlement. But, India.
We are introduced to these social norms only at the start of the film -- keeping the narrative very tight, and also saving the viewers a lot of thought that might have gone into wondering what's happening and why.
A similarly less amount of thought was put into giving the leads the gravitas they needed to convince the audience with the idea of IVF (just in a day's meeting), and not any other means to get pregnant.
But 'Good Newwz', at heart, is primarily a comedy movie. And it remains largely that -- with genuine humour (in places though), exceptional comic timing displayed by Akshay Kumar and Diljit Dosanjh, and a dash of tear-jerking scenes - without much ado (read: reasoning).
Director Raj Mehta should take credit for setting up a Punjabi milieu that has no gossiping, scheming aunties, or no family members pestering the two childless couples to have a baby. Here, the couples themselves have been trying to have a baby of their own for six-seven years, and it is then that they are introduced to 'Brahma ka daanya haath' Dr (Mrs) and Dr (Mr) Joshi, who run a posh, high-end IVF clinic in the city.
There's a scene in the second half of the film where Akshay Kumar's Varun watches -- in disgust -- the ad-film the Joshis play at the reception of their centre, promoting themselves as sellers of "good news". And believe me, if you may, they are partly that -- the selling point of 'Good Newwz'.
Adil Hussain and Tisca Chopra make sure the hospital scenes are as funny as they are educational. Their short presence on the screen is a treat.
So is Akshay Kumar's comic timing. Is there anything this man cannot do? He makes you laugh. And he makes you cry. And he does all this with a panache that your focus automatically goes on him when he is on screen. The sequence in which the Akshay and Kareena Kapoor's posh and sophisticated couple invites the less educated Batras to their place and the former breaks into the effect of what he had been smoking is a baller of a scene!
Kareena Kapoor's Deepti is a perfect foil to him. She looks insanely beautiful, and steals everybody's thunder in emotional scenes. Her softness and gradual transformation into being friends with the lesser of the Batras make up for the insensitivity Akshay's Varun shows -- or even the unidentified reasons behind it. One of the best scenes of the movie is when the two would-be mothers bond over 'gol-gappas'.
Diljit Dosanjh is a natural when it comes to playing Honey, a loud Punjabi male hailing from Chandigarh. Kiara Advani has the least screen space among the four leads, but her Monika is charming and emblematic of pseudo-modernity in the middle-class.
Together these four super-talented artistes lift up the wafer-thin premise of 'Good Newwz', and make for a superlative entertainer. You tend to almost let logic, and reasoning go, because the situational comedy -- two Batra couples divided by varying levels of sophistication, but united by a happy-sad mix-up -- and genuine humour actually crack you up. Much of the credit goes to Rishabh Sharma, whose lines perfectly fit the bill of a film centred on sex. A few dialogues are bold, and some humour bolder and that's how they should have been -- going to show the effort Raj Mehta would have put into ensuring 'Good Newwz' remains a family movie.
The music is strictly Punjabi and makes for a good listen.
Manish More's editing and Jyoti Kapoor, Raj Mehta and Rishabh Sharma's screenplay are crisp -- almost to the extent of making the climactic sequence a rushed up affair. At least five minutes could have been added in the later part of the movie to delve more into the developing bond of the two Batra couples. And five more to explore the post-partum scenario.
But despite the little flaws that come with making a comedy movie, Raj Mehta's debut directorial is a winner. The movie could have easily nosedived into a slapstick, cringe zone. Mehta made sure it does not. The movie -- also -- is miles ahead of Akshay Kumar's last release 'Housefull 4' in terms of humour. And that alone says a lot.
'Good Newwz' is an easy, breezy entertainer -- with four exceptionally brilliant leads. It is not even a one-time watch -- the film has a kind-of repeat value, rarely seen in the current crop of comedy movies. Watch it -- with your family -- for Akshay Kumar's comic timing, Diljit Dosanjh's desi-ness, Kareena Kapoor's gorgeousness, and Tisca Chopra and Adil Hussain's special appearances, but largely for the **genuine** peals of laughter you would burst into.
IndiaTVNews.com verdict: 3.5 stars (extra half-a-star for the 'high-on-weed' scene. It's a baller!)