Director: K Johnson
Cast: Santhanam, Anaika Soti, Motta Rajendran
For diehard fans of the same team’s A1 (all 15 of us), the first hour or so of Parris Jeyaraj can be quite the shocker. It’s as though the director started to take himself a little too seriously after his first film’s reasonable success. He wants his wafer-thin plot to be properly set, he wants his characters to have arcs and he tries really hard at wordplay to keep the jokes coming. For most of the first half, it’s like he wants every single dialogue to rhyme.
In terms of the writing, it all feels a bit like gibberish. We meet a lawyer who specialises in splitting up couples before and after they get married. We also meet his son (Santhanam) Parry’s-based gaana sensation Jeyaraj performing songs Santhosh Narayanan seems to have had crazy fun composing. We then meet another heroine written by Johnson, which makes it even more clear that he’s still not met a living, breathing woman in his life.
But all this feels like it’s leading nowhere. Of course, it doesn’t take too long for Jeyaraj and Divya (Anaika Soti) to fall in love, but where is the film taking us? It will take at least until the end of the first half to get to the film’s main point. It’s really an odd writing choice indicative of how little material the director has gone into the film with. It’s obvious he’s left everything to his actors and their ability to improvise on the set. To be fair, that’s what worked well for him in A1, but that at least had a kind of a context, that of a funeral to make even silly scenes appear funny. But in Parris Jeyaraj, the plot really kicks in only during the interval.
And, it’s this hilarious plot point that makes every joke work from then on. Revealing what this is would render the whole film pointless, but let’s just say that both Jeyaraj and Divya have very similar Daddy issues. It is with this one-trick pony that the director manages to rebuild what felt like the ruins of an adult comedy. But the film focusses more on adultery than adult to give us a series of LOL scenes that are too silly to take offence to. Like a longish scene that involved one of the strangest conference calls you’re likely to see in the movies.
If A1 restricted the Priyadarshan-style confusion comedy to one place, in this we get a mall and a marriage hall where everything that can go wrong, does. We get recurring bits like an out-of-control Mottai Rajendran with a truck that will remind you of Duel and the director’s signature brand of Iyer-bashing. It never really comes together, but there’s a lot of fun to be had in all the inanity. Between laughing at the film and with the film, the silliness of Parris Jeyaraj is good to remind all of us that there’s no harm in laughing at oneself every now and then.