Has anyone else out there in movie-watcher land noticed the increasingly pretzel-like convolutions to which some of us critics resort when faced with a movie from “Bollywood”? Ah, the twists and turns we go through in order to find something good to say, finally concluding, "but oh, god -- it's so LONG!". I’m no Bollywood expert, nor, from my enormously negative reaction to the new CHANDNI CHOWK TO CHINA, am I likely to be anytime soon. I’ve enjoyed (to a point) Bolly/Holly/Independent-wood mixtures such as Marigold and The Guru and I found Lagaan and a few other Bollywood features reasonably entertaining – for at least part of their enormous running time. But CC2C (to reduce the title, if not the film itself, to bearable length), which opens today nationwide and is supposedly Warner Brothers’ first foray into Bollywood, is so bloated and repetitive that its barely 30 minutes of legitimate content is blown up to five times that length.
We get everything from the sort of “live-action animation” that would not be out of place in a Bugs Bunny cartoon to a beheading, lots of kung-foolish action scenes, love (without the longed for lip-smack we westerners appreciate, though there is an ironic nod to this), death and regeneration, bathos by the tubful -- and dancing (above and below). I would have joined the handful of walkouts during the press screening, had not I felt (and been told by one PR person) that this is inappropriate behavior. Though the film is also supposed to be the first to combine Bollywood with Chinese martial arts, the marriage is consummated via sledgehammer rather than style and finesse. And its inordinate length (by American comedy standards) coupled to the very low intelligence level left at least one viewer feeling suckered by the endless parade of one-two punches.