In case you are wondering what 'Hotel California' is all about, I should tell you that the title of the film is derived from a film, the DVD of which is being smuggled to Kerala, even before it's released. The film stars erstwhile superstar Prem (Anoop Menon), whose throne is all shaken up after a series of successive flops.

Entrusted with the task is Jimmy (Jayasurya), a Cochin based thug, smuggler and pimp, whose aides mess up this job big time. Mistaking an upcoming young politician for the smuggler (Saiju Kurup in a double role), they end up 'kidnapping' him. 

The story is quite long winding in that the characters are several, and the circumstances that bind them together more than just a few. What is disheartening is that eventually it appears like a jumbled, badly shaken up string of crude skits that has become a groveling mess. 

The characterization appears flimsy at several points. There is the serial actress for instance (Dhwani), who is all set to bed a millionaire (Shankar), to make a few quick bucks. There is also this rich damsel (Maria Roy) who has had enough with men, and who decides to conceive by paying a fortune for a Bollywood superstar sperm. 

The best thing about the film are the few genuinely funny moments that are on offer thanks to Noby Marcose and his team. The writing too turns out to be distinctly smart, especially the bit related to terrorism and religion. 

So if all that you plan to do over the weekend is to head over to a cinema hall and lie back on your seat, giggling every now and then over a gag, 'Hotel California' could work for you. But even then, in parts. I wonder how long, we would find the 'adult' jokes interesting, if they are wedged into the narrative merely to make a seemingly conservative audience shudder in their seats. 

"We started off with a Cocktail," states Jimmy with a smile, right at the start of the film. "I have heard that the film is terribly vulgar," smirks another character looking at the DVD cover of 'Trivandrum Lodge'. Anoop Menon, the writer, seems to be having a ball taunting his detractors. But when it comes to the writing, 'Hotel California' is nowhere near either 'Cocktail' or 'Trivandrum Lodge'.

There are times when a tale that you intend to tell assumes monstrous proportions of its own all on a sudden. The imagination runs a bit too wild, and the tale looks back at you like a giant octopus that has much longer tentacles than you thought it would have. It beams at you knowing that you have totally lost control over it, and 'Hotel California' is one such odd creation.

Apart from the bizarre curiosity that sprouts out of watching Babu Namboothiri sporting a three-fourth, the cast of 'Hotel California' presents no big surprises. Oh yes, and there is Joju George, who has been consistently bettering himself with each film. In 'Hotel California' as the lecherous police man, he is a blast indeed. Jayasurya, Anoop Menon, Dhwani, P Balachandran - they are all there. Period.

Even with the statutory warning to leave your brains back home, 'Hotel California' is a brain masher. The impossible to ingest plot contortions make it a bland mishmash that more than often seems contrived to the core. 

And yes, it still escapes me why the Hotel has been given an 'A' certificate. Perhaps the sperm vial must have done the trick.


(2 / 5)  : Average (2 / 5) : Average 


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