Bollywood has been going through a phase of international resurgence lately. House Full (an unintended pun on the name of the American sitcom Full House) is a comedy that targets expat Indians living in Western countries longing for home-grown laughter. This light comedy embodies the worst mechanics of Indian cinema: it’s convoluted, exaggerated and fails to make any genuine human connection.

Akshay Kumar made a name for himself in his homeland by starring in action flicks over the last two decades. As with many aging action heroes, he has made a pre-emptive shift to broad comedy with some acclaimed results. However, House Full is his silliest film to date.

Things start out promising with an intriguing premise: Arush (Kumar) is cursed with such bad luck, that the only job that he can manage to hold onto is as a cooler at a casino. He’s such an unrelenting force of negative energy that just by walking near a table, he causes all players to lose. Arush believes that his streak of bad luck will be broken when he finds his one true love and ultimately marries her. Not the most original idea out there.

What happens next is a series of zany mishaps and sidetracking, supposedly designed to test your attention span. Arush does end up getting married, within the first twenty minutes of the film– too early considering the film’s epic 150-minute running time. But with that problem resolved, the film presents another: his wife leaves him. And then another problem: he meets a hot girl who dates him under the impression than his wife has died. But wait, here come the predicament: the new girl has a strict brother who brutally investigates suspected terrorists.

That’s just scratching the surface. There are enough instances of mistaken identity and verbal misunderstanding here to make you question the validity of spoken communication.

Interestingly, House Full shows the similarities between the Indian and the Middle Eastern cultures. Social values are practically the same, especially when it comes to marriage. Also, the film’s humour resembles something we’d see in an Egyptian film. It’s even executed with the same let’s-set-aside-the-plot-for-a-minute manner. However, the Bollywood affinity for song-and-dance numbers maintains a cultural divide, and there are enough of these flirtatious cues to make you lose sight of an already complicated plot.

It’s baffling that this film got released in Egypt, as that would denote some kind of universal appeal, one that made My Name is Khan a moderate success– but there is none of that here. House Full plays strictly on the ethnic appeal; and half of the jokes get lost in translation anyway.