Kandasamys: The Baby 2023 Movie Review
Much as I love the Kandasamys and the films so far, I feel in this film they have lost their way. It doesn’t have the brightness, the pizazz, the spark of the previous movies. Worse, they seem to be sticking to a formula: there’s a big event involving both families; each mother believes that she and she alone can manage the event properly, and they both get in the way of each other, the event, and in general make a riotous mess of things, until it all gets ironed out neatly at the end to everybody’s satisfaction. Along the way the husbands Elvis and Preggie act as foils to their wives, and the redoubtable Aya gets in some excellent one-liners.
In this film, it’s Prishen and Jody’s new baby; both Jennifer and Shanthi are of course insistent that each one will show the new parents how to do it right. So it’s off to Mauritius they all go. However, Jennifer’s itinerary of how they will spend each hour of each day is neatly binned by Prishen, who not only has the four new grandparents, and Aya, put up at a luxury resort, but has himself planned an itinerary for them, much to Jennifer’s annoyance.
Preggie and Elvis are even more background figures in this film than in others. Aside from one scene when they instruct Prishen on how to be a new dad (selective deafness, and constipation – thus allowing plenty of alone time) they hardly figure at all. Aya indeed has lots of one-liners, and plenty of having the last word, but it all feels a bit forced and without humour. We were hoping for some brilliant punch-lines, but there are none. There is however, a nice scene where she brilliantly describes the four grandparents to their guide, Moothoo.
Throw in some genuine issues: Jody’s postnatal depression, and Jennifer’s flashback to her own difficult time as a new mother – and there is the potential for real drama. And in different hands this could have been a truly dramatic film. But we don’t expect drama from the Kandasamys, we expect humour and a bit of fighting between Jennifer and Shanthi. This drama thus sits a bit oddly in the film, as though the makers weren’t quite sure to handle it. Shanthi is having her own difficulties with her second son Desan accused of bullying and being expelled from school; Desan on the other hand feels he can never measure up to the golden son Prishen (as he puts it in a rap: Prishen is a hero; he, Desan, is a zero).
With a scene in which Jennifer explodes in furious anger at both Prishen and Jody, the feel-good ending – one year later, at baby Arya’s first birthday party – seems a bit contrived and unnatural. Too much has happened in the film for it just to end with a colourful dance and Aya’s voice-over.
I think this film is for Kandasamy fans only – it’s not unwatchable, but it’s less than it could have been. And if a fifth film is to be made, they will have to seriously lift their game.