The Bollywood–gone–Hollywood Kambakkht Ishq makes a convincing argument that the problem with comparably cheesy American romantic comedies is that while they’re equally predictable and manipulative, they don’t have enough fun. Los Angeles stuntman Viraj (Akshay Kumar) is a lady–killing stud who is about to encounter the one woman immune to his machismo: Simrita (Kareena Kapoor), a jaw–droppingly beautiful young surgeon who (get this) used to model professionally to earn enough money to pay for medical school. Director Sabir Khan treats Simrita’s ludicrous backstory with the same straight–faced delight that he approaches the rest of Kambakkht Ishq‘s rampant foolishness, making for a sexy, dopey film that believes that all you need for an entertaining night out are copious amounts of dancing, singing, broad clowning, and gorgeous people. The upscale L.A. locations occasionally lend this romantic comedy the look and materialistic worldview of a rap video, and at nearly two and a half hours, Kambakkht Ishq struggles to maintain its ferociously ebullient tone. But neither extraneous subplots nor awkward (yet improbably crucial) cameos from Sylvester Stallone and Denise Richards can keep Kumar and Kapoor from charming the audience as thoroughly as they beguile each other. Be warned: You are going to hate yourself for falling for a film this shameless in its attempts to win you over.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on July 1, 2009