M Rajesh is a director whom I think should only write dialogues and should never try to write a script. His scripts are terribly wayward. And because of some of the pop culture reference filled dialogues in his movies, we sort of tend to forgive him for the extreme laziness he shows in writing his films. Mr. Local starring Sivakarthikeyan and Nayanthara in the lead roles is pitched as one of that hero vs heroine comedy but the movie in a nutshell simply propagates misogynistic male ego.
Manohar is a salesman in a car showroom and he lives a happy life with his mother and sister. One day while he was traveling along with his mother, his bike met with an accident and the car that hit his bike was driven by this young girl named Keerthana Vasudevan who ran a television serial production company. The arrogant Keerthana was unwilling to apologize to Manohar and his mother and that problem slowly grows and becomes a constant battle between the two. What happens at the end of this Poda Podi game between them is what Mr. Local as a movie showing us.
Mr. Local aspires to be a lot of things at the same time. It is essentially an M Rajesh film where the hero and his sidekicks are constantly blabbering and some of them are actually funny. But in the meantime Rajesh wants this to be the Sivakarthikeyan mass hero movie, a love story, etc. There is nothing wrong in aspiring to be all that. But making fun of a character that underwent gender changing surgery is not exactly the way to do it. Demonizing a heroine by making her say lines like, I feel suffocation sitting inside a middle-class house, or make her accuse the hero as an opportunist in the lamest of ways possible, etc are a sign of unimaginative writing and the sheer happiness one gets by bitching about women. Well, for an industry that believes stalking is selfless love, expecting anything sensible is too much to ask for I guess.
Sivakarthikeyan is pretty much repeating his usual performance. In comedy scenes, the actor does excel with his effortlessness while in the wannabe Rajini scenes he isn’t that effective. Nayanthara gets to play a character that is extremely one dimensional. I felt disappointed with her choice of script. I feel there is a reason why she is called a lady superstar and someone like her not being able to understand the regressive politics of this film was kind of heartbreaking. Radhika Sarathkumar tries hard to act like Kovai Sarala. Sathish and Yogi Baba are the irrelevant comedy sidekicks. And I must admit that some of the scenes featuring these two were actually funny.
As I said, M Rajesh is a really good dialogue writer for comedy films. The major problem is his sense of screenplay writing. His pitching of scenes is way too outlandish. And the director tries to escape from that flaw through his dialogues. But in the case of Mr. Local that escape strategy just doesn’t work as the second half has so many problematic areas. I still don’t know why exactly the two fell in love with each other. It was almost like director Rajesh felt bored of making them fight with each other in silliest of ways possible and suddenly decided to include the love track. When you look back at this film, you will sort of remember a lot of scenes that really had no real role in the screenplay. The John Vijay scene is one such example. The cinematography is largely trying to make things eye candy through bright visuals with flat lighting. The music by Hiphop Tamizha is on the typical side.
Mr. Local is a lazily written comedy by director M Rajesh who thinks that abundant dialogue humor can cover up mediocrity. Sivakarthikeyan’s usual charm and the humor in dialogues do help the movie in being less annoying. But walking out of the theater, you will have that bewildering feeling I had when I heard Sivakarthikeyan’s Malayalam in one scene.
Mr. Local is a lazily written comedy by director M Rajesh who thinks that abundant dialogue humor can cover up mediocrity.
Green: Recommended Film
Orange: Okay, Watchable, Experimental Films
Red: Not Recommended