The line between courtship and harassment is out there, painted in bright, glow-in-the-dark flourescence. But our film makers, like a bunch of sufficiently bribed traffic cops, like to look the other way. As a result, movies end up showing how a man with no redeeming features stalks his object of affection, harasses her, lies to her, completely disrespects her right to say no, until she relents and "falls in love" with him (read: starts wearing salwar kameez).
Something Something, a slice-of-life, tongue-in-cheek comedy of errors, portrays a young boy-next-door trying underhand tactics to land his girl. It could have been an excellent satire on everything that is wrong with filmi romances, telling people that life is not a Ravi Teja movie. But we were wrong. All it does is make you worry about what kinds of youngsters inhabit our cities today, and wonder why the imbecile human race hasn't clobbered itself into blissful extinction yet.
The film is actually fun for a long, long time. Kumar (Siddharth) is a shy, timid, gawky, introverted software professional who is awkward with women, and doesn't want to have anything to do with them. A brief, funny back-story tells us why - he has always suffered rejection at the hands of the fairer sex.
Things change when a hot girl, Sanjana (Hansika), joins his office. The woman-starved males in the office fall over one another trying to welcome the lady, who makes a graceful, respect-worthy entry on her first day of work by showing cleavage.
Sanjana is so out of Kumar's league that it is not a joke. He seeks the help of famed love guru Premji (Brahmanandam), who actually drives the whole film by "coaching" him on various methods to land a girl, ranging from cheap phone-number-procuring gimmicks to public molestation.
Something Something is a dubbed film, with the parts with Brahmanandam having been actually re-shot in Telugu. So be prepared for awful lip-sync, and a l-e-e-t-l-e bit of Tamil nativity (yes, urban rom-coms come with a flavour, too).
The movie works wonderfully before it takes its interval break. Clever situational comedy, and well-written lines peppered with quips on men, women and relationships, keep the film fun and vibrant for the most part. There's comedy, but there's also nuance, as Kumar goes from one shameless trick in the book to another.
But then, they stretch it, and the plot hangs loose like an an overused clothesline. Premji becomes the soul of the movie, but then, he goes from harmless guru to vicious creep as you wonder when the bad guys will get their due.
The romance is basically a joke, since all Kumar has to do is make Sanjana and her boyfriend break up in order for her to like him back. At one point, when Sanjana gives Kumar a dressing down because she realizes that he's been hoodwinking her all this while, you root for the film. But in the next scene, she loves him again because - get this - he has an accident. So what happens to all the smart writing and the cleverness, and why this escapism?
Siddharth is amusing as the week-kneed nerd, but his act gets monotonous. Hansika is as pretty as they come, and acts well. The other actors are smooth, but Brahmanandam proves to be THE anchor of the film. Samantha's cameo, meanwhile, is rather cute. Also, Rana Daggubati appears as himself for half a minute.
The songs are, surprisingly, too mass-y. They're too loud and jarring, but the background music is pretty pleasant, and keeps with the comic tone of the movie. The visuals are slick, and the editing keeps the film feeling crisp.
On the whole, Something Something is a fun film that can be watched once if you crave entertainment without violence and sleaze. However, we'd have rooted harder for it if it were as brilliant as it could have actually been.