I often wonder about star/numerical ratings for films. How does a film earn, say, 3 stars out of four? Is there a sort of formula employed by those who give out these ratings, or is it a quantified version of what is essentially a qualitative reaction? Is there an objective way of doing this?
Here’s a potential algorithm: Start off with a baseline score. Anything the movie does right, it gets plus points. Anything the movie does wrong, it gets minus points. Add them to the baseline and you get your final score. This could be above or below the baseline, depending on whether the movie got more things right than wrong, or vice versa.
According to this algorithm, EMAET would end up with a baseline score. Not because the pluses and minuses even out, but because the film does nothing right or wrong. It has about as much edge as a perfect sphere and about as much personality as a dead bacterium.
If I try really hard, I guess I can come up with a few things to say. On the plus side, there’s this well-observed dinner scene late in the movie where the hero essentially blows up at his parents. The ending seems sensible. On the minus side, the lead character gets totally drunk for no reason other than that the plot needs him to do that and get married in Vegas, the world capital of Marrying While Intoxicated. Okay, that’s it.
Why did they make this movie at all? Even the cast doesn’t seem to care. When Kareena Kapoor screams in one scene, she sounds so tentative, it’s like she’s just pantomiming a screaming action in a silent movie. Her character is written as a version of Geet, the one she played in Jab We Met. Except, this one is played as if Geet fell into a vat of valium as a baby. Imran Khan has an excuse — his character is a milquetoast to begin with, so he can just claim to be faithful to the script. Not that this helps.
There is an exchange late in the film where the heroine describes the hero as being perfectly average. Having had to deal with his parents’ extraordinary expectations of him all his life, he sees this as the nicest thing anyone has ever said to him. Now, I could say the same thing about the movie. It is perfectly average, with no hope of anything on the variance front. But to paraphrase Hans Landa, where our conclusions differ is that I do not consider this a compliment.