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Neymar review: This unexpected comedy is saved by pet sentiments and heroic climaxes


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When you look at the first half of the film Neymar directed by Sudhi Maddison, you tend to have the least expectations about watching a good movie. The first half gives the impression that they have introduced the dog into the film more like an excuse to make a movie out of a common thread. But somewhere in the second half, the pet sentiments start to work, and even though it has the format we can easily predict, the fun elements in the last quarter of this film elevate it to become a passable comedy.

Kunjava and Sinto are close buddies. Kunjava was in love with a girl who had a pet dog. To impress her, Sinto gives him the idea of having a pet dog to create mutual interest. But that plan eventually results in Kunjava’s emotional attachment to his pet dog Neymar. When Neymar became an issue in the neighborhood, Kunjava’s father, Sahadevan, decided to abandon it, and he gave it to a truck driver. The journey of Sinto and Kunjava to find Neymar and what happened in that journey is what we see in the film Neymar.

Like any other Mathew Thomas – Naslen film, the first half is full of stupid things, these two do to impress girls. You will find many familiar scenes, some of which are dragged pointlessly to make the movie look more comical than sentimental. Luckily, even though there is no unpredictability, the second half has a more focused screenplay that goes after scenes with some purpose in the film. If you are someone who has a pet, there are sporadic moments in the movie that will touch you emotionally. The screenplay by Paul Skaria and Adarsh Sukumaran neatly included the ensemble cast to the movie’s final act to give the film that celebration mood it badly needed.

Even though he is good at being this innocent-looking cheeky teenager in almost all his movies, I think it’s high time that Mathew Thomas should think about taking up some interesting characters to diversify his filmography. Naslen, as always, pulls off the role of the man with numerous stupid plans very convincingly. Johny Antony, in his typical style, was okay in the movie. Shammi Thilakan performs his part as the irritated father hilariously. Vijayaraghavan’s character is on the louder side, but he wasn’t really overdoing that character. Yog Japee as Gabri was also a convincing choice, as the character had dual shades in the film.

Sudhi Maddison knows the concept’s potential and invests more in the sequences featuring the dog rather than building the story up to it. The context in which Neymar was brought into Kunjava’s life gets forgotten quickly, and Sudhi wants to enter the competition chapter in the second half very fast. After the lazy broad strokes in the first half’s writing, the movie gradually increases the pitch in the second half. The dog’s performance and the training given to it play a key role in making those sequences look convincing on screen. Even the bits that seemed incredibly cheesy on paper were shot neatly. The visual effects, especially in the critical moments of the final race, were evidently bad. The music felt less Shaan Rahmanish (a good thing), and the background score from Gopi Sunder understood the emotional high the scenes demanded. The stylized visuals and colorful frames in the Pondichery chapter add a certain level of energy to the film.

Neymar wanted to utilize the pet sentiments, and they succeeded in that, especially in the second half. A more novel story that showed some depth in establishing the emotional bond between the heroes and the dog would have made a huge difference to the film. Because the scene toward the end where Neymar casually puts his hand on Sahadevan looks so beautiful. The absence of such minimal yet beautiful moments in the first half, which was largely consumed by giggle-worthy jokes, was the major shortcoming of Neymar.

Final Thoughts

Even though it has the format we can easily predict, the fun elements in the last quarter of this film elevate it to become a passable comedy.

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