During the press meet of Mr Local, director Rajesh said he has made “a clean and colourful entertainer.” But we are treated to a lifetime’s supply of misogyny, lewd jokes, double entendres, and uninventive one-liners for more than two hours.
Few minutes into the film, Manohar (Sivakarthikeyan) gets to say, “for men, girlfriends are the biggest enemies”, and the entire crowd, mostly men, go berserk in the theater.
In Tamil cinema universe, the hero, in general, falls for the heroine’s ‘thimiru’, and wants to ‘tame’ her. Would any woman tolerate someone, who objectifies women, like Manohar, let alone fall in love with him? I am not sure. So, Rajesh attempts to tell the story of a middle-class guy who clashes with a business tycoon. Mr Local is an outrageous attempt in writing ‘a commercial entertainer’ that goes nowhere.
The film portrays Sivakarthikeyan as the ideal man, and shows Nayanthara, as someone who needs to be taught ‘values’. I couldn’t help but think of Rajinikanth’s Padayappa dialogue, in which the Superstar ‘categorises’ women and says how “a woman should behave like a woman.” Similarly, in Mr Local, Yogi Babu’s character refers to Nayanthara’s character as, “idhu ponney illa”.
The one fact that clearly emerges is that Rajesh has made Mr Local, pandering to the predominantly male audience. For example, the film has a line that trivialises the #MeToo movement. As one is aware, commercial films always thrive on insults, body shaming and ‘gay jokes’. Mr Local has such “funny scenes”, but the joke is on the audience. Rajesh’s writing is plain juvenile and annoying.
Mr Local, once again, reiterates the men-will-be-men logic.
With Yogi Babu, Robo Shankar and Sathish, of course, we have a few laughs, but one can call that low brow comedy. When the makers cast them, you know what to expect, and they deliver it on point, much to our disgust.
Oh, I haven’t told you the story yet, because I believe there is nothing much to discuss. I still wonder how a powerhouse talent like Nayanthara agreed to star in Mr Local, despite shouldering Aramm, Kolamaavu Kokila and Airaa, among others.
Mr Local ends up as a below-average fare at the “leave your brains home” level. Nayanthara, Radikaa and the entire star cast seem totally lost in a weak script.
The film inserts jarring songs at the most inappropriate moments, which turns into a drab exercise after a point. As for Sivakarthikeyan, there are moments that ensure the actor in him is safe below the many layers of pancake.