Noise is probably one of the safest escape routes for a humourist. If there's one thing you notice about De Dana Dan, it's that it clangs and thumps away for all of 3 hours. Of course, Priyadarshan can do better than simply throw in the ingredients without chopping, turn up the stove and make off through the window, hoping no one's looking. And he does, too.
The problem with DDD is not with the brushstrokes, which actually work, but with the canvas. There is plenty of sparkling wit, and a lot of slapstick as well. However, throwing a zillion people together and forming several inter-linkages of money and murder amongst them, and tying it all up with a kidnapping case, very blatantly speaks of formula. Formula, as is generally known, does not set you apart from the rest of the pack.
The usual suspect, i. e. money, begins the plot. Nitin (Akshay Kumar) and Ram (Suneil Shetty) are seriously strapped for cash. They decide to kidnap the dog of the former's landlady (Archana Puran Singh, of whom Nitin is a servant), but things go awry. Meanwhile, Nitin and Ram both have outrageously rich girlfriends (Katrina Kaif and Sameera Reddy, respectively), each of who insists that time's up for her marriage.
Priyadarshan then goes ahead and takes the liberty to insert characters by the heap into the script. Sets of parents (Paresh Rawal, Tinnu Anand and a host of others), a gangster, a hitman (Johnny Lever), a random unfaithful husband (Shakti Kapoor), and a lot of accompaniments land up at a hotel for different reasons. There's unapologetic mayhem from here on.
It's not fair to write off De Dana Dan completely, because it does have a lot of brilliantly written comedy. There is visual humour, and not just the kind that involves chicken curry landing on people's heads. There's the confusion kind of humour, which never goes wrong with Johnny Lever around. And there are clever dialogues as well.
But then, Akshay and Suneil have little to do in the second half, which mainly features the senior lot. Also, there are so many inter-linkages, misunderstandings and mistaken identities, that you completely lose track of the bigger picture, and end up laughing solely at the moment on hand.
There's a lot of misplaced adult content in the centre of the action. The second half consists of several middle-aged men screaming and accusing one another of having slept with either a bazaari aurat (Neha Dhupia) or someone else's wife. Firstly, watching Neha Dhupia getting cozy with Vikram Gokhale in a "hilarious" misunderstanding is hardly a joke. And even if you're comfortable laughing at these things with your entire family, we're not sure you'd be able to discuss them when you get home.
Akshay, Suneil and Paresh Rawal are in their usual comic form, and are well above the characters written for them. Tinnu Anand has a delightful role, and so does Johnny Lever. The women are there just for the curves and for pleasantries, and have barely any screen time.
With the film being set in a hotel in Singapore, there's plenty of indoor action, with quite uninteresting backdrops. The music also is hardly meant to top the charts, and is more on the lines of filling awkward gaps in the script.
De Dana Dan is as mindless as it gets nowadays, but has its moments. A pity it had to fall easy prey to the empty-vessels-noise adage.