Life Partner's cutest scene plays out as the credits roll, making it look like the director had a "time's up, your answer sheets please" moment. The story's about two couples who're firm nothing will split them, and whose divorce lawyer friend's evil eye does them apart. Considering it would have been more entertaining to watch people get together than have differences, Life Partner could have chopped the screaming a little and gotten Cupid in a bit sooner.
Karan (Fardeen Khan), Bhavesh (Tusshar Kapoor) and Jeet (Govinda) are a trio of friends in Cape Town. Karan and Sanjana (Genelia D'Souza) like to call themselves a perfect couple - romantic and impulsive, the ready-to-go-for-a-drive kinds. It wouldn't have worked if not for the level-headed but passionate Karan, who keeps the boat steady despite Sanjana's bratty and absolutely vacuous ways.
Bhavesh is a complete do-gooder, teetotaller and virgin, who wants to get married, but who's stuck with the stuffiness of a patriarchal Gujarati family run by a bullheaded father. Jeet is a relentless divorce lawyer who'd talk even honeymooners out of their marriage. A little morbid, until you realize that Jeet is merely reflecting the cynicism of an entire generation - and there's Govinda to make it look funny.
When Bhavesh's parents finally agree to get him married, and when they all go to India, Bhavesh takes a liking to Prachi (Prachi Desai), the daughter of his father's friend. Karan and Sanjana too get married at the same altar. But there's no heaven on earth for either of these couples, as Jeet's tenet about how the foremost cause of divorce is marriage, comes true.
The first half of the film is dedicated to showing the romances, and in the second, we are told why they split. It's only the first that's actually funny, because when the film starts telling us what goes wrong, it acquires the feel of a TV soap - thankfully, minus the trauma.
The drama sometimes even degenerates into clichÃ©s, but fortunately the downslide halts there, because the scenes are pretty well-scripted. For example, the part with Bhavesh's narrow-minded father, and the enthusiastic MBA daughter-in-law Prachi just not fitting in with the way he runs the family, and Bhavesh getting caught between the two - the director lets every character have his or her say, not once making any one person look less sensible than the rest. It is a feat, really, given the extremes of the characters.
The film could have put in some more effort in showing the reconciliations, but all it does is take a few minutes to wind it all up, in a rather corny way.
Govinda's comedy has been slicked up, but since Life Partner is not an out-and-out laugh riot, he hasn't been used well. He doesn't really let you down, though - you know there's something coming if he's around on screen.
He has some decent company in the rest of the cast. Fardeen and Tusshar are allright. Anupam Kher's moments, though few, are hilarious. Genelia is great with the expressions, like she is in any advertisement, but her laboured dialogue delivery, coupled with her having to scream a lot, can get on your nerves. Prachi Desai is graceful, and Vikram Gokhle adds his dignified two cents.
The songs seem to be fun to dance to, with some good tunes - including a folk tune and a few dance numbers. And as for the visuals, Life Partner is an excellently filmed, slick production, with a few amazing foreign locales, and some Gujarati grandeur somewhere in between.
You could watch Life Partner if you ended up with not much else - it's quite easy on the senses, but not exactly riotous.