"Joker" directed by Shirish Kunder has miserably failed to impress the film critics.

A still from the movie ‘Joker’
A still from the movie ‘Joker’; Courtesy: Shirish Kunder Twitter page

"Joker" has actor-producer Akshay Kumar in the leading role and Sonakshi Singh playing the leading lady. The film is produced by Kunder's wife Farah Khan and Akshay along with UTV production house.  Akshay owns Hari Om Entertainment and Farah owns Three's Company production house.

The film was initially started as a 3D project. Later, the film bosses decided to do away with the 3D dimension, saying that it has a limited reach.

"Joker", which is Kunder's ambitious sci-fi movie marked his comeback as director after a long time. His debut movie as film maker was "Jaan-E-Mann" that was released in 2006, and had actors Salman Khan and Akshay Kumar in lead roles. It was a big failure at the box office despite having a big star cast.

Read: Box Office Hits & Misses: 'Joker' Dooms; 'Ek Tha Tiger' Rules the Roost

Kunder was expected to come with a big bang with his latest offering. However, he has virtually failed to tickle the funny bones of critics with his wits in "Joker".

Here's is what film critics had to say about "Joker":

"In Joker, directed by Shirish Kunder, Akshay Kumar is cast as a committed NASA scientist. You can laugh now. Very likely it's the only time you'll laugh during this disappointing film," writes Rajeev Masand of CNN IBN.

The reviewer has also written about the brighter side of the movie as well. "It's easy to write off Joker as a complete failure, but to give credit where it's due, the film is less offensive than many Akshay Kumar films we've seen recently. Devoid of double-meaning dialogues and sexist jokes, there is stuff here that might have made for an engaging children's film, had Kunder not fallen prey to that oldest mistake - of treating his audience like fools," says Masand.

Film critic Taran Adarsh said that the movie's premises and characters reminds one of several past films.

"From the looks of it, JOKER reminds one of SIGNS [the crop circles], seems inspired by KOI MIL GAYA [UFO, alien], also SWADES [a well-settled Indian in the U.S. returns to his roots -- his village], LAGAAN [the dhoti-clad hero and the villagers strike a pose] and GOLMAAL series [Shreyas Talpade's incoherent speech, a la Tusshar Kapoor] and of course, the fav of many a film-maker, Spielberg's ET," Adarsh  writes for Bollywood Hungama.

"Akshay is monotonous and repetitive. Sonakshi gets no scope at all. Also, the spark is missing. Shreyas Talpade is reduced to being Akshay's glorified sidekick. Minissha Lamba is hardly there. Arya Babbar, Vindu Dara Singh, Asrani, Sanjay Mishra, Vrajesh Hirjee, Pitobash, Gurpreet Guggi, Darshan Jariwala, Anjan Srivastava, Avtar Gill and Bikramjeet Kanwarpal are gap fillers. Alexx O'Nell is strictly okay," verdicts Adarsh. "On the whole, JOKER is a joke of a film. Disaster!"

Vinayak Chakravorty of India Today, writes, "The joke's really on Shirish Kunder this time. The guy had Akshay Kumar straight after Rowdy Rathore and Housefull 2, and look what a mess he has served up."

"For a sci-fi adventure, the film grossly lacks the right twists. Too many pointless characters hog the runtime too, disturbing the story. Akshay tries bravely to salvage the amateurish show with raw star power. He doesn't quite succeed mainly because the script hardly taps his stardom. Sonakshi Sinha's presence is restricted to being the hero's arm candy. Madness, done with method, can be hilarious. Or, as in the case of Joker, it can be a royal bore," says Chakravorty.

Trisha Gupta reviewing 'Joker' for First Post, writes that the director had got the perfect set up of story premises and star cast to ensure a successful movie. However, the reviewer feels that the film maker blew it.  

"The idea of an alien movie set in India isn't half-bad. An alien spoof movie set in India: sure, that's even better. A movie about a village of madmen that doesn't exist on the map: that's a perfectly good idea, too (especially if we don't think too hard about the fact that the germ of it almost certainly came from Manto's genius story 'Toba Tek Singh'). So Shirish Kunder's Joker isn't short on starting premises. But a film that hopes to fly all these kites simultaneously can only be setting itself up for a spectacular fall. And boy, does it crash and burn," says Gupta.

"As compared to the in-your-face screechiness of a 'Ready' or the excruciating double entendre humour of a 'Kya Super Kool Hain Hum', 'Joker' is almost inoffensive. The trouble is that it doesn't know if it wants to be a cynical take on the state of the country, or a deep-down-philosophical fantasy in which the gibberish of madmen turns out to be an alien language - or just a standard-issue jingoistic comedy in which Indians can be heroes no matter what and white people are just evil, dude," says Gupta.

Aakanksha Naval-Shetye of DNA writes: "The only redeeming factor is the length of the film. At one and a half hour, it makes for that perfect opportunity to catch a power nap, take a loo-break and perhaps it will be the only time when you won't mind standing in long queues for your ration of pop-corn too. The actors here are guilty not of bad performances - they seem to have delivered their goods -but for agreeing to join in the madness of Paglapur. There were rumours of Akshay distancing himself from the promotions and marketing of the film. One look at the film and the answer is evident, why."

"Where does the title 'Joker'fit in all of this? Well, Kunder has especially written two dialogues only to justify that. Punctuated by unrequired songs, the film goes on from being silly to bizarre to ridiculous, all in a rather short span of time. Focussing on the village bumpkins of Paglapur, the director seems to have forgotten that the audience is not from Paglapur. Simply put: Watch at your own risk!" verdicts Shetye.

Director: Shirish Kunder

Star cast: Akshay Kumar, Sonakshi Singh, Shreyas Talpade

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