Pattaapakal review: A Comedy of Errors…Literally!

A film like “Neram” skillfully combines a comedy of errors with a non-linear narrative. “Pattaapakal,” the latest Malayalam comedy, attempts to replicate this style but falls short due to the writer’s inability to develop solid storylines for each subplot. The movie, with a runtime of 1 hour and 45 minutes, is overrun by uninspired skit humor, making it a tiresome watch for the audience.

It is challenging to summarize the plot of “Pattaapakal” because the filmmakers themselves seem unsure where to direct their focus. The story involves a politician whose scandalous video is held by a thug named Carlos, who uses it to blackmail other politicians. Amidst this, several ordinary people with their own problems become entangled in the chaos through a series of coincidental events.

Good scripts typically start with a scene order and develop into a nuanced screenplay with detailed characters and connections. In contrast, poorly written scripts often extend scenes unnecessarily, revealing the writers’ laziness. “Pattaapakal” falls into this latter category. Director Saajir Sadaf’s attempt to mimic Alphonse Puthran results in excessive slow motion, gimmicky edits, and on-screen text that adds no value.

As for the performances, none of the actors are given challenging roles. Kichu Tellus, playing the caricatured villain Carlos, is merely passable in his comedic attempts. His henchmen are forgettable nuisances. Ramesh Pisharody reprises yet another crooked “Nallavanaya Unni” role, while Johny Antony once again plays a panicked character, so much so that meeting him in person might prompt one to offer CPR instead of a handshake. Krishna Shankar appears in the second half, portraying a typical Krishna Shankar role. Other cast members, including Gokulan, Sudhy Kopa, Renji Kankol, and Vineeth Thattil, also fail to leave a lasting impression.

Some themes in cinema have an expiration date, and need reinvention to resonate with modern audiences. The non-linear narrative style popularized by “Neram” feels outdated, as viewers have seen numerous variations of it. PS Arjun’s writing for “Pattaapakal” takes the audience for granted, assuming that filling scenes with skit humor would distract from the weak script. Songs are awkwardly inserted, and the dialogue desperately tries to be funny. Shaan Rahman’s music seems like a collection of discarded tunes.

By the time the third pointless song played during the end credits, I had already left the theater and reached home by 12 PM, after a show that started at 10 AM. The only positive aspect of this dreadful film was that it ended on time. Given the stale humor, I half-expected a character to fall into a pit of cow dung, but even that would have been an improvement over the movie’s tired jokes.

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