Mr Local movie review: Sivakarthikeyan, Nayanthara's star power drags this brainless, soulless comedy
Mr Local is just another mindless and aimless comedy aimed for the family audience. But the laugh is clearly on the audience.
Lighthearted comedies set against lower middle class background, with an unemployed hero, laced with humorous gimmicks, punchlines and aggressive wooing of the heroine, has been the forte of director M Rajesh. The idea is to dish out a commercially viable, “jolly time-pass entertainer” steeped in family sentiments and songs. His latest, Mr Local, with big stars Sivakarthikeyan and Nayanthara, follows the same template as his earlier films, minus the heartbreak song in a TASMAC (government-run liquor shops) bar where, usually, the hero makes merry with his friends.
For a change, the hero is employed as a salesman in a car showroom. The entire film is about the conflict between a happy-go-lucky guy, who cannot take ‘no’ for an answer and his clash with an arrogant rich girl, who looks down upon people from a lower strata of society. A wafer-thin storyline and a very basic theme are good ol' favourite traits of Kollywood filmmakers of the yesteryear, a la The Taming of the Shrew, which even inspired Rajinikanth to do a Mannan (1992). Here, the story is the same but treatment and packaging is in Rajesh style with trademark Sivakarthikeyan humour and gimmicks. Add to that, the glamour and star presence of Nayanthara. Well, the cocktail looks potent.
However, the film turns out to be run-of-the-mill, with hardly a story and merely scenes put together to force a few laughs. With a run time of 155 minutes, there is a major lag in storytelling. The film opens with Manohar (Sivakarthikeyan) in a Paris jail, where he narrates his story in a flashback to the French jail warden in English, mixed with Tamil. Manohar tells the warden that the root cause of his trouble is a girl: “For all the boys, their girlfriend is their first enemy.”
Back home in Chennai, he leads a happy and jolly life with his group of friends (Yogi Babu, Robo Shankar and Satish). His life revolves around his friends, affectionate mother (Radhika Sarathkumar), a homemaker addicted to Tamil television serials, and a sister. One day, he crosses the path of Keerthana Vasudevan (Nayanthara), a rich egotistical aggressive TV producer, which creates tension between the two. And when Keerthana takes him to the court, he turns the table and humiliates her. They lock horns again and play one-upmanship games, which finally leads to a predictable climax.
The trouble with Mr Local is that there is no screenplay or a basic plot as the focus is clearly on its high profile stars. Some of the scenes must have been written on the sets, especially those involving Sivakarthikeyan and the comedians — Yogi Babu, Robo Shankar and Satish. Actually, Sivakarthikeyan is at his best in the comic scenes and proves his perfect comic timing yet again. Nayanthara looks glamorous but her role has been poorly written. The music of Hip Hop Tamizha is average, with 'Takkunu Takkunu', sung by Anirudh, being the only good pick of the lot.
Mr Local is just another mindless and aimless comedy but the laugh is clearly on the audience.
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