×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Film Review: ‘Mickey Virus’

A trio of winning newcomers and spirited direction from tyro helmer Saurabh Varma make this Bollywood hacker comedy worth a click.

With:

Manish Paul, Elli Avram, Puja Gupta, Manish Choudhary, Varun Badola, Nitish Pandey. (Hindi dialogue).

The up-tempo comic cyber-thriller “Mickey Virus” is not without antecedents. This likable new Bollywood youth comedy about a close knit group of hacker/slacker screw-ups in New Delhi owes a fair amount to both “3 Idiots,” the 2009 Aamir Khan film about students at the Indian Institute of Technology, and to “Delhi Belly,” a 2011 gross-out comedy (Bollywood’s first) that was set in a notably grubby version of the same milieu. In India, where the pic opened to decent but unspectacular box-office over the weekend, it is also being compared with the hit 2012 comedy “Vicky Donor.”

But while it’s not really anything new, “Mickey Virus” feels fresh, wit a pervasive no-sweat attitude. The leading players are all brand new to movie acting: Popular TV host Manish Paul (who could be Johnny Knoxville’s Hindu kid brother) has the tile role as a genius hacker recruited by the police, reality TV star Elli Avram is his dream-girl love interest, and gifted snarler Puja Gupta is his “tomboy” hacker-chick pal (a la Alison Pill as the crabby drummer in “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World”). That all three of these novice actors give such relaxed and confident performers is a credit to the movie’s first-time writer-director, former marketing specialist Saurabh Varma.

With his marketing background, one might expect Varma to have a flashy visual style reminiscent of directors such as Ridley and Tony Scott (or India’s Mani Ratnam and Sanjay Leela Bhansali), who apprenticed in commercials. Instead, he stages dialogue-driven scenes of scheming and complaining that only occasionally wear out their welcome.

The underlying thriller plot in “Mickey Virus,” in which an elusive international gang conspires to drain a bank account full of “black money” (the fruits of political corruption), is impressively complicated for a comedy. During the final hour or so, so many high-strung characters are shouting elaborate explanations at each other that we begin to wonder how much of this we’re expected to keep track of. But director Varma and his co-writers, Gaurav Varma and Elvin Raja, have a playful attitude toward the surprise twists and layers of deception they’ve carefully engineered. They have pride of craft and sense of fun, a winning combination.

Film Review: 'Mickey Virus'

Reviewed at AMC Covina 30, Covina, CA, Oct. 26, 2013. Running-time: 135 MIN.
 
 

Production:

(India) A DAR Motion Pictures production in association with Trilogic Digital Media Limited and Awesome Films Pvt. Ltd.. Produced by Arun Rangachari, Vivek Rangachari. Executive producer, Meraj Shaikh.

Crew:

Directed by Saurabh Varma. Screenplay, Saurabh Varma; story, Gaurav Varma, Saurabh Varma, Elvin Raja. Camera (color), Anshuman Mahaley; editor, Archit D. Rastogi; music, Hanif Shaikh; production designers, Suman Roy, Mahapatra; casting, Abhishek Banerjee.

With:

Manish Paul, Elli Avram, Puja Gupta, Manish Choudhary, Varun Badola, Nitish Pandey. (Hindi dialogue).

More Film

  • Alita Battle Angel

    Box Office: 'Alita: Battle Angel' No Match for China's 'Wandering Earth' Overseas

    Hollywood movies like “Alita: Battle Angel” and “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World” are doing respectable business overseas, but they’re proving no match for foreign titles at the international box office. The Chinese New Year is bringing in huge business in the Middle Kingdom. China’s sci-fi epic “The Wandering Earth” pulled in a [...]

  • ABA_062_DAU_0060_v0409.87501 – Rosa Salazar stars as

    Box Office: 'Alita: Battle Angel' Wins Dismal President's Day Weekend

    Fox’s sci-fi adventure “Alita: Battle Angel” dominated in North America, but its opening weekend win isn’t leaving the box office with much to celebrate. Tracking services estimate that this will be one of the lowest grossing President’s Day weekends in years. Ticket sales are on pace to be the smallest bounty for the holiday frame [...]

  • Bohemian Rhapsody

    'Bohemian Rhapsody,' 'Marvelous Mrs. Maisel' Among Cinema Audio Society Winners

    Queen biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody” won the Cinema Audio Society’s top prize for sound mixing at Saturday night’s 55th annual CAS Awards. The film is Oscar-nominated for sound mixing this year along with “Black Panther,” “First Man,” “Roma” and “A Star Is Born.” In a surprise over heavy-hitters “Incredibles 2” and “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” Wes [...]

  • Oscars Placeholder

    Make-Up and Hair Stylist Guild Applauds Academy's Stance on Airing Every Oscar Winner

    Rowdy boos were followed by triumphant cheers at the Make-Up Artists and Hair Stylists Guild Awards on Saturday in Los Angeles, as the Hollywood union touched on a week of controversy over a reversed decision to hand out four Oscars during the show’s commercial breaks. Hair and makeup was one of the four categories that would [...]

  • Marvelous Mrs Maisel Vice

    'Vice,' 'The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel' Lead Make-Up and Hair Stylists Guild Awards Winners

    Adam McKay’s Dick Cheney biopic “Vice,” starring Oscar nominees Christian Bale, Amy Adams and Sam Rockwell, won two awards at the sixth annual Make-Up and Hair Stylists Guild Awards Saturday night. The film won for best period and/or character makeup as well as special makeup effects. “Mary Queen of Scots” received the prize for period [...]

  • Bette Midler

    Bette Midler to Perform on the Oscars (EXCLUSIVE)

    Bette Midler will perform “The Place Where Lost Things Go” at the Oscar ceremonies on Feb. 24, Variety has learned. Midler, a longtime friend of composer-lyricist Marc Shaiman, will sing the song originally performed by Emily Blunt in “Mary Poppins Returns.” The song, by Shaiman and his lyricist partner Scott Wittman, is one of five [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content