Within the first five minutes of A Family Pack, a spirit enters the body of a woman and says: “Do you think a woman is a banana to eat and toss off the peel?” By the next five minutes, in another completely different setup, a belittled 5-year old child who thinks he is invisible slaps the neck of his grandfather resulting in his death. Of all things, this horror-comedy-drama tries to establish- taking it seriously is not one of them. The film does not even take itself seriously. A comedy with a supernatural twist, where neither the comedy nor the twist can redeem its ridiculousness for 110 torturous minutes.

Directed by Arjun Kumar S, Family Pack (a title as bizarre and random as the plot itself) stars Likith Shetty as Abhi whose entire character development can be summarised in one phrase: child to a man-child. A pair of dysfunctional parents leave him whining and complaining about every little thing. His parents divorced when he was a child, and he now lives with his mother. Moreover, he cannot fathom that his father got married for the third time and invited him for a honeymoon. Back home, he cannot eat upma for breakfast two days in a row. Of course, it is his mother who cooks, there’s no question whether he can make something for himself or not. He decides to leave his house to stay in a rented apartment. Mother? Who cares? Let her make upma. No bonus points for guessing who becomes his unlikely companion there.

Apparently, he is also studying to become a doctor. That involves two shots of Abhi being unable to connect with anyone around him in college and feeling lonely. Still, he manages to perfect his ways of unabashed stalking for a girl who calls herself an influencer named Baby Boo (Amrutha Iyengar). Unable to find a way to woo her, he decides to end his life from the terrace of the new apartment. This is when the ghost (Rangayana Raghu) appears and saves his life. Now, this ghost has his own love story to tell. Time for a flashback. Then some romance. Another additional line on this banana-peel of a story is a slip I wish to avoid.

Family Pack 2022

Some films work within their little world- which is fine, given not everything is supposed to change the way you look or see the world. Some experiences are low-key and better off that way. Family Pack does not fall into either of these categories. It ultimately packs frustration and a terrible aftertaste. It requires two slaps to wake up from its dreadful world of cringe-worthy jokes. It is shoddily written, with zero sense of humour or emotional connection. Each of these characters is caricatures at their best, offensive nitwits at their worst. The men spend half of their screentime falling for women and failing to catch their attention, whereas the women are simply the receptors, a euphemism for mannequins with no clue how the reality works.

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By the time it stumbles to the mid-way point, Family Pack exhausts and infuriates with its headstrong sense of humour and narrative choices. The connection between the ghost and Abhi, become much deeper than was initially perceived. But instead of becoming a comedy of errors, it turns into a cringe-worthy tale of silliness. It feels more or less like a skit, not a film. Even the actors know it; the hammy performances all across the board are certainly enough to prove that. There’s no visual style or sense of purpose, even the background score is increased to a few notches up to add to the humour. The effect serves the opposite.

Family Pack seems to be intended with a deliberate dose of playfulness. It wears its showy, loud rhythm (or the lack of it) with a careless abandon. What feels acutely superficial in this scenario is its urge to stay relevant. The lack of effort is what shows. By the time Family Pack emerges out of its supernatural mess, one is devoid of any human emotions to register what just happened. This is filmmaking at its obnoxious best, and the humblest way to deal with such beauty is to avoid it.

Family Pack is now streaming on Prime Video


Family Pack Links: IMDb, Amazon Prime Video
Director: Arjun Kumar .S.
Family Pack Cast: Sihi Kahi Chandru, Dattanna, Chandana Gowda, Achyuth Kumar, Nidhi Gowda

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