Goodalochana, directed by Thomas Sebastian, joins the list of meandering Malayalam boy-bonding films that attempt to recapture the magic of earlier hits in the genre.
This one, which stars Dhyan Sreenivasan in a lead role (he's also the film's writer), is quite straightforward about wanting to create this deja vu. Why, the boys' club is even called 'Malarvaadi', a hat tip to the Vineeth Sreenivasan directorial Malarvaadi Arts Club that launched Nivin Pauly's career and also debuted Aju Varghese. Aju is back in the same club but the film fails to hold up.
Set in Kozhikode (the film starts off like Angamaly Diaries, paying homage to the city and its glorious food), we have four friends played by Aju Varghese, Dhyan, Sreenath Bhasi, and Hareesh Perumanna trying to achieve their dream of... making lots of money.
What worked about the first Malarvaadi film was that it had a fresh cast and was small in its ambition. However, it's difficult to empathise with the four protagonists of Goodalochana and their tomfoolery, as all of them are well past the goofy youngster phase.
Though the script acknowledges this in some scenes, it sticks to slapstick comedy (literally too – I lost count of how many times the characters slapped each other, trying to evoke laughter from the audience) that doesn't allow its characters to grow up. They get into one scrape or the other but none of these episodes is explored beyond a few scenes stacked together.
You don't really understand why they need all that money – there's no sense of urgency built into the narrative and the motives remain vague. Besides, they lose a lakh here and there within the blink of an eye and face no dire consequences.
Mamata Mohandas makes an appearance as an arty... art dealer. She looks lovely but doesn't have much to do in the film. Niranjana Anoop is wasted in a counseling girlfriend role. Alencier, as Dhyan's strict father, is as convincing as he always is in any film. However, the competent supporting cast is unable to save the film from its unoriginal execution. The music score by Shaan Rahman and Gopi Sundar is upbeat and tries to keep things moving but with so little evolution in the characters, that's a big ask.
Goodalochana does have a good idea at the core – revolving around a famous painting. But the film wastes too much time getting to it and when it does, it squanders the opportunity.
This one needed a lot more original alochana (thought) to take off.