Kambakkht Ishq -- Film Review

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OAKLAND, Calif. -- There's a word used in Hindi films to mimic the sound of blows during a particularly ludicrous action scene: Dishoom! -- as in: "Biff! Pow!" The madcap "Kambakkht Ishq" has plenty of dishoom. It's also entirely lacking in wit. But the fact that it's one of the most expensive Hindi-language films ever made and features such curiosities as Hollywood he-man Sylvester Stallone, "Superman Returns" star Brandon Routh and Bond girl-turned-reality star Denise Richards might draw enough of an audience in India to make a solid dishoom at the boxoffice there.

The film nominally is a love story -- "Kambakkht Ishq" means, loosely, "damn love" -- between Viraj Shergill (Akshay Kumar) and Simrita Rai (Kareena Kapoor), a top Hollywood stuntman and a surgeon, respectively. They hate love and each other, which according the law of movie plots can lead only to one thing.

Most of the film's jokes range from Viagra to flatulence to cream pies, and the proceedings reach a climax during a fight scene on Los Angeles' mean streets that finds a scantily clad Simrita and a girlfriend surrounded by bargain-basement thugs (look closely -- one wears dentures). But fear not: A spry Sly shows up to save the damsels by crushing the bad guys with a car and ripping up a lamppost to dishoom them upside their heads.

One sequence that sparkles, though, is when Simrita accidentally drops a silver watch charm into Viraj's chest cavity while stitching him up after surgery. Every hour, the charm emits a musical marriage mantra -- which, of course, leads to a grandly opulent, disco-fied Bollywood anthem, complete with bare-bellied Hindu brides.

The macho Kumar ("Singh Is Kinng") and the lithe Kapoor seem game for anything, as do Stallone, Routh and Richards playing themselves.

It's all so wild and nutty, one wishes the filmmakers or stars would wink to let us know they're in on the joke. Sadly, that wink never comes.

Opened: Friday, July 3 (Eros Entertainment)
Cast: Akshay Kumar, Kareena Kapoor, Sylvester Stallone, Denise Richards, Brandon Routh, Aftab Shivdasani, Amrita Arora, Kirron Kher, Javed Jaffrey, Vindu Dara Singh
Director: Sabbir Khan
Screenwriters: Sabbir Khan, Ishita Moitra, Anvita Dutt Guptan
Producer: Sajid Nadiadwala
Executive producer: Prachi Thadani
Director of photography: Vikas Sivaraman
Production designer: Acropolis
Action coordinators: Spiros Razzatos, Franco Salamon
Music: Anu Malik
Choreographer: Vaibhavi Merchant
Costume designer: Shabina Khan
Editor: Nitin Rokade
No rating, 142 minutes
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