Kee, directed by Kalees, has been inordinately delayed, so there were some concerns that the film would look outdated. But turns out, that's the least of its problems.
The script was clearly eaten up by termites because the film looks like people just turned up on the sets every day and made up what they'd shoot on the go - random seduction scene with cherry on the navel like Vijayakant's Chinna Gounder? Villain (Govind Padmasoorya) lying on a bed with a giant British flag bedsheet? Philosophy about the food chain explained by a deranged man? Cutesy children imitating Tamil cinema's version of adult romance? Fair and Handsome ad placements everywhere? RJ Balaji pretending this is LKG 2 and taking potshots at Tamil Nadu politicians though the film has nothing to do with them?
OH I KNOW! Heroine giggling on a merry-go-round! Kee's got it all.
The hero's introduction sequence is bad enough - Siddharth aka Sid aka Siddhu (Jiiva) is in a club and he's talking to the camera about how he hacks everyone's phones to know the "manasu" of women. Why is he talking to the camera? We don't know. This is a dude who believes things like "Women will allow you to touch them anywhere if you touch their heart first", and thinks it's romantic to tell someone he's only just met which brand of bra she's wearing and how much it costs by hacking into her phone. In other words, he's the Tinder date from your worst nightmare.
I half wondered if this film had been hijacked by the Incels and rewritten - was that why it was so delayed? - but kept my hopes alive, thinking this is the average Tamil cinema director's idea of generating "mass" before the "class" steps in.
Kee was going to get better once the whole technology plot line kicked in, I told myself. I did not give up even when Siri on Sid's phone said "I can't able to..." and not "I'm not able to..." - all part of the "mass", I told myself.
But sadly, the whole technology plot line is just a bunch of guys in a room typing things, giant screens showing worried faces, and a voice-over kindly explaining to the audience that the internet is very, very, very, very dangerous. Kee is evidently inspired by the Blue Whale challenge which caused quite a scare a couple of years ago. It has characters bumping off others on the instructions of someone, but the screenplay completely fails to create any kind of suspense or empathy in the audience. The first half has a sequence with an ATM machine that shows promise but that's all.
The lack of research into hacking is glaringly obvious and it looks like the director read a WhatsApp forward about the dark web which he turned into a script that was subsequently eaten up by the said termites.
Where films like Irumbuthirai, Lens, and even Thiruttu Payale 2 scored is in creating the illusion that something like this could happen to us. Kee, however, just depends on shiny lights, loud background music and fancy shot selection to do the job. And tattoos on biceps.
The comedy is contrived, which you must expect when you see RJ Balaji in the cast (he doesn't disappoint - the first joke is about how he "corrected" his "velakaari" with a ring), but Kee also has some Appa comedy in the form of Rajendra Prasad. This is the kind of amazing father who bonds with his son about how to "correct" women and doesn't care at all that his son has failed in all his subjects. Because he's a father who cares and apparently, that's how fathers who care behave. He also gives his son love bites when they're on the bike together (I don't want to psychoanalyse this).
Nikki Galrani does some comedy too, playing an overgrown five-year-old who rides piggyback, goes on the merry-go-round, sleeps hugging a pink teddy bear, screeches kee kee (perhaps inspired by the title), and is grateful to receive a kuchi ice from the hero after he's put her life at immense risk. If you think she sounds too "modern", don't you worry, she totally believes in pouring koozhu for Mari aatha.
The other woman lead is Anaika Soti who seems to have been copy-pasted from a Gautham Karthik adult comedy.
The absurdity reaches peak level in the climax, and it's a situation that even Rajinikanth (to whom the director pays tribute) cannot save. This would have been a way more honest film if only it had been titled 10 Inane Ways to 'Correct' Women. To quote Siri from Kee, I can't able to.
Disclaimer: This review was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the series/film. TNM Editorial is independent of any business relationship the organisation may have with producers or any other members of its cast or crew.