F2 movie review: Venkatesh, Varun Tej starrer is a laugh riot until it loses its magic in the second half
F2 is funny right from the word go and the gags just keep getting better and better, at least until half-way through into its narrative.
F2 might very well be the 347295562956th film that’s based on the concept of "Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus" - one that looks to drive home the point that men and women have a different perspective about life. But there’s still something different about the film. Its fun element comes from the frustration of some of its principal characters, and it’s so self-aware of what it’s trying to do that it doesn’t seem offensive despite the very idea that it toys around with.
The intention matters a lot, and all the more so, for a film like F2. Thankfully, writer and director Anil Ravipudi doesn’t turn it into a battle where one gender has to prove that they are better than the other, even though the story could have moved in that direction at any given point. Instead, Ravipudi and his team of writers find humour in simple incidents and everyday life of a couple. At times, the bone of contention is a packet of Surf Excel or a shopping experience. This ‘fun’ quotient in the film is what turns F2 into a laugh riot, thanks to some sharp writing and superb casting. Quite frankly, it’s been a long time since a mainstream film has been this funny right from the word go and the gags just keep getting better and better, at least until half-way through into its narrative.
The film is about Venky (Venkatesh), who gets married to Harika (Tamannaah), and how he discovers that life after marriage is anything but fun. To add to his misery, Harika’s sister, Honey (Mehreen) comes to stay with them, and soon, Venky ends up meeting her boyfriend, Varun Yadav (Varun Tej). The rest of the story is about how Venky & Harika, and Varun & Mehreen, discover the true meaning of being in a relationship.
Fun is the underlying principle of F2 and there’s not a single scene in the first half of the film which isn’t funny for some reason or another. Be it that "pellichoopulu" sequence where Venky meets Harika for the first time, or the circumstances under which Varun discovers Honey’s artistic talents, Anil Ravipudi injects the film with so much humour that you can’t help but laugh out loud. It also helps that the premise of the film, where the girl’s family wants to take control, sets the stage well for the fun element to flow into every part of the story, quite seamlessly.
The film’s biggest strength, apart from its writing, comes in the form of its casting. It’s a treat watching Venkatesh and Varun Tej bring the roof down with their comic timing. Venkatesh, in particular, is in great form and this is easily his most fun outing since Malleswari, which released way back in 2004. There’s a particular scene where Venky ends up confronting a dog, and the way it unfolds is proof enough of how smart the writing of the film is. Mehreen is hilarious in her role as Honey and it was a pleasant surprise to see her pulling it off so well. And Tamannaah too shines in her role. F2 also has a wonderful set of supporting actors including Pragathi, Jhansi, Rajendra Prasad, Annapurna, Pradeep, Y Vijaya among many others, and all of them deliver noteworthy performances. The film doesn’t forget to tickle the funny bone at every juncture in the first half. This is also something which stays with you long after watching the film, because things go quite wayward in the second half.
For all the good work that Anil Ravipudi and actors do in the first half, there’s a major tonal shift in the second half. The gags feels repetitive, and the humour dries up even if the scene is meant to be funny. While the characters and the story evolve organically in the beginning, by the time we get to a point where the conflict has to be resolved, it doesn’t quite have the same effect. It might not be too boring, but at the same time, it’s not that engaging either. There are multiple subplots, each vying for attention, and this, in turn, leads to a major distraction from the path the narrative chooses in the beginning. The climax is a different story altogether. Fun turns into commotion and it’s frustrating to watch a solid entertainer lose some of its magic in the latter portions.
Despite its lows, F2 manages to entertain quite a lot and it's well-intentioned. It wants men to understand the importance of saying ‘sorry’ and ‘I love you’ when it matters the most. In the film, Venky and Varun might have learnt their lesson the hard way, but they do unravel the secret to a life of happiness — that you don’t have to learn Venky Aasan, but just follow when Pradeep says right from the beginning till the end — "Anthega Anthega." If that doesn’t make you laugh, then I don’t know what will.
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