Finally I reached home a couple of days back & at the earliest possible opportunity, I decided to check out the latest Malayalam movie on offer which happened to be Prithviraj's "James & Alice". Since there was no scope for me in the recent past to check out Malayalam movies as soon as it released, I was naturally thrilled to check this one out. The promos & appearance of Prithviraj in a pony tail (which looked odd) was likely to tempt the audience to the theatres. So was it able to satiate my excitement???
James (Prithviraj) is an ad maker who was married to Alice (Vedhika), a banker & the couple was blessed with a daughter, Pinkie (Emine Salman). Both of them had married against the wishes of Alice's father Davis (Saikumar), who as most fathers wanted his daughter's future secured in the hands of an affluent son-in-law. However, as years passed by cracks started to appear in their relationship as James frustrated with the lack of a credible career growth repeatedly fails to provide a helping hand to Alice who is eventually forced to take care of the family on her own. It was a matter of time before their marital discord came before the family court & it was now upto both of them to rekindle the spark in their relationship before it was too late.
After years of experience in the film industry as a reputed cinematographer, Sujith Vasudev decided to try his hand in direction which led to the birth of "James & Alice". It has been scripted by Dr. S Janardhanan & dealt with the theme of discord among couples which is so prevalent in the present society. However, the slow pace of the movie along with the introduction of a divine intervention might not be palatable to everyone. It seemed more like a zillion times refined version of Lalettan's abysmal venture "Angel John". Inspite of being his directorial debut, Sujith has done a commendable job while the same cannot be said about Samjith whose editing left a lot to be desired. As far as music is concerned, Gopi Sundar impresses with "Mazhaye..." rendered by Karthik & Abhaya being my favourite track. But special mention has to be made about his BGM which I feel is one of his best to date as it undoubtedly elevated the feel of the movie.
James wasn't quite a character that really tested the acting skills of Prithviraj which invariably meant it was a cake walk for the talented artist. The surprise was however Vedhika who stole the show as Alice with a stunning performance to put rest to claims that she was nothing more than a pretty face. Saikumar as expected impresses in a brief role, Parvathy lended ample support while Manju Pillai makes a return to the big screen thanks to her husband & gave a glimpse as to why she ought to be seen more. As for the rest, Emine was apt enough while Sijoy Varghese effectively exuded a divine charm ably assisted by Anoop Menon's dubbing.
Verdict: Being slow paced coupled with a somber feel for large parts of the movie invariably means that many wont find it to their liking. In all likelihood, it will break even at the most & will hope that lack of releases in this election season might work in its favour. In short, if you are looking for an entertainer forget it or else give it a try!!!