3 Idiots (Day 23)

3 Idiots My Opinion: 6.5 || A lot of fun. The movie is all over the place and not uniformly successful, but the joy is genuine and you’re happy to forgive the moments that don’t work. The first pure comedy I’ve watched in this run and also the first musical. The two main dance numbers are infectious, and there are a number of good laughs. What’s most surprising, though, is the consistent strength of the movie’s message about valuing creativity and originality.

TITLE: 3 Idiots
DIRECTOR:  Rajkumar Hirani
YEAR: 2009
PROFILE: Comedy, Musical | 170 minutes | IMDb (8.3)

SYNOPSIS (Courtesy of IMDb): Two friends are searching for their long lost companion. They revisit their college days and recall the memories of their friend who inspired them to think differently, even as the rest of the world called them “idiots”.


Strengths: For a movie that had the potential to be painfully coarse and dumb, it’s delightful that 3 Idiots has such a warm heart. There’s authentic caring among the characters, and aside from two characters who are played as pure buffoons, most everyone has real depth. The rejection of careerist conformity and regimentation rings true; it’s an idealized vision that’s played for laughs, but the stories are nuanced and interesting enough to give weight to the theme

Weaknesses: It’s longer than it needs to be and there are some lowest-common-denominator gags that don’t work so well. (Admittedly, there may be a couple instances where the heart of the joke is just lost in translation.) When you have this many contrived situations, it’s almost inevitable that some will seem more forced.

Performances: Enjoyable performances all around, with special credit to Aamir Khan as Rancho, the “primary idiot” (who’s anything but an idiot). And to Boman Irani as his nemesis, Virus, the relentlessly driven head of the Indian College of Engineering. They’re both a joy to watch and bring just the right blend of comedy and pathos.

3 idiots

Best Scene: There are a couple musicals I adore (The Wizard of Oz, Singin’ In the Rain, Once More With Feeling) and a few others that don’t make me want to gouge my ears out, but it’s among my least favorite genres. So the fact that I enjoyed the musical numbers in 3 Idiots so much is all the more impressive (for me). It’s hard to decide which routine is best, but I’ll go with the second, which involves a romantic duet sung to winningly silly lyrics

File Under: funny, outrageous, career, school, science, pranks