Sharp (Simbu), a happy-go-lucky guy, loves Priya (Hansika), a college student, but later learns that she is enagaged to Anbu (Aditya), a businessman-gangster. Priya wants them to remain friends and Sharp agrees, all the while scheming to make her fall in love with him.
The opening scene of
features a robbery with men wearing masks that have the faces of the superstars of Tamil cinema — Rajini, Kamal, Ajith and Vijay. Before we start thinking that this is some sophisticated heist, we are shown what they are stealing — a crate of beer! And we get the sight gag of 'Ajith' riding the bike with 'Vijay' on the pillion. This is the moment when debutant director Vijay Chander makes his intentions clear; we are in for an anything-goes movie whose only aim is to keep the fans entertained. This is not necessarily a bad thing and Vaalu ends up as a reasonably enjoyable film.
The plot is actually stitched together from the must-haves of romcoms and masala movies. We have the mandatory 'heroine doing a cutesy thing when the hero first sets sight on her' moment (here, she is seen petting a rabbit!), a plot device that brings them together (a fairly interesting one involving a lost mobile phone), a wisecracking friend (Santhanam, delivering a one-two punch this week with this one and
Vasuvum Saravananum Onna Padichavanga
), a fairytale family (including a father who is so friendly that he advices the son to flush the bathroom more when he has had a drink), a
who is also a gangster of sorts, his henchmen whose only role is to fly through the air every time they are hit by the hero, a hospital climax and tonnes and tonnes of hero build-up. But what saves the film from being just another Tamil cinema romance is how the director manages to package all these things together in a manner that feels fairly fresh despite the three-year production hassles that the film faced (though the actors' appearances changes dramatically within short periods) .
rides mostly on the screen presence of Simbu and the actor, who is returning to screen in his first full-fledged role in the last three years (his last release as a hero was
), makes an energetic re-entry. He is there in almost all the frames. He romances, sings, dances, fights, does comedy and utters lots and lots of punchlines. In the song
U R My Darling
that takes a leaf out of Shankar's
, he appears as MGR, Rajinikanth, Ajith, and even positions himself as the next in line. Some of it is, as usual, very much over-the-top, but it feels nice to see the talented young star back in action. And his chemistry — and history (the two were in a relationship when they started shooting for the film, but broke-up later) — with Hansika, who gets a role that demands her to simply be a pleasant presence, gives the much-needed fillip to the romantic track.
But the film is too long and at times, Vijay Chander overdoes things... like the needless pre-climax fight between Sharp and Anbu's henchmen, the innumerable duets (Thaman's heavily auto-tuned songs sound very similar to one another), the lengthy episode involving Priya's visit to Sharp's home.... Plus there is hardly a truly dramatic moment, so there are times when we feel that the film is just drifting along from one amusing scene to another without an end in sight. However, the director displays a knack giving a slight twist here and there to cliched scenes (the final meeting between Sharp and Anbu, for example) that keeps things somewhat engaging.