Director: Siddharth Sen
Cast: Janhvi Kapoor, Deepak Dobriyal, Meeta Vashisht, Sushant Singh
Streaming on: Disney+ Hotstar
Films like Goodluck Jerry appear tempting on paper. The premise of a simpleton girl getting trapped in a drug racket and encountering quirky characters will make any maker salivating to make the picture. What is usually tricky with such pictures is how to stretch the life of such an idea into a feature-length film.
Siddharth Sen’s Goodluck Jerry moves at a meandering pace till its interval. I don’t mind the pace if it is providing me with either some information about the character or the plot. I’m even fine with time being taken to establish characters so that when all hell breaks loose in such films, you are not surprised by a character’s actions. On that front, this film stays ambiguous but not in an entertaining way.
It picks up pace in the second half and all hell breaks loose. But by that time, you’re playing along with what’s happening because you want to see how it all culminates, not because you’ve been hooked by the plot or the characters. To give credit where it’s due, the film offers a variety of quirky characters and produces fun situations. And it’s enjoyable alright. But the film always gives you a feeling that something’s missing, it could have been a much tighter film.
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The time consumed till the interval could have been used better to tell us more about the film’s protagonist Jerry (a sincere Janhvi Kapoor). Jerry is intriguing. She works at a massage parlor to earn a living. She opts to make big bucks through drug peddling so that she can pay for the cancer treatment of her mother (Meeta Vashisht). The quickness of that transition required better reasoning. Not sure how many of us, however in dire need, would voluntarily opt for drug peddling. Jerry could be smart and I understand that the intention to show her as a naïve Bihari girl in Punjab could be to throw in surprise after surprise in the second half once the chase begins. But that’s me giving a benefit of the doubt to the writers. Although I enjoyed Jerry’s antics in the second half of the film, it wasn’t a thoroughly enjoyable experience.
The supporting characters are fanciful. It’s often fun watching a bumbling criminal; Saurabh Sachdeva as Malik in this case. Deepak Dobriyal is fun as a local fukra guy eyeing Jerry. His character’s transformation from eyeing Jerry to marry him to calling him a sister when he gets into trouble is hilarious. Janhvi Kapoor is sincere as Jerry. The effort of a Mumbai girl trying to play a Bihari simpleton girl is visible in her performance. But I would like to see her doing more such quirky stuff which her mother Sridevi did with flamboyance.
The production design and cinematography create a whimsical world within an existing world. The song paracetamol is grooving. One of the punters of a drug supplier yelling “Police ko humne chaaron taraf se gher liya hai” is the takeaway line from the climax. And there are some hilarious one-liners like that sprinkled throughout the film. Overall, Goodluck Jerry is a humorous but bumpy ride. It’s a good watch on a lazy afternoon on your laptop or TV which is where it is streaming, on Disney+ Hotstar.