I hate the incorrect use of language. Whenever I see people making mistakes in spellings etc. I have this anal habit of correcting them. Therefore, I was very put off by the title of the film in the beginning. On seeing the posters or promo, I found the spellings too distracting to have any sort of expectations from the movie. Nevertheless, being the movie whore that I am, I decided to give it a shot and I must say I was pleasantly surprised.
I Hate Luv Storys works for the most part; not because of novelty but because of some witty writing and great chemistry. As a story, it is very much like the same clichéd romantic comedies that it claims to mock. A man who does not believe in love (Imran Khan) and a girl who does (Sonam Kapoor); both work in the film industry, he as an assistant to the director and she as a production designer. She has her Mr. Right (Sameer Dattani) who she is happy to sign away her life to till she meets Mr. Wrong. They become great friends and over the course of time, he of course starts questioning his beliefs regarding the existence of magical true love.
Like I said, the plot does not have much going for it. In fact, story-wise, I thought the film bore a striking resemblance to the abysmal Kyun? Ho Gaya Na! However, unlike that monstrosity, this one has highly likable characters and good performances. The dialogues are the best thing about the movie. While the story takes the very much tried and tested path, it is in the dialogues where the magic lies. They are fresh, contemporary and exude urban cool. The lines are witty, sharp and in most places, hilarious. Also, its gentle mockery of the genre that is romantic comedy is funny and yet is peppered with affection. This is why it is no surprise that it finally settles very much into the same clichés in that knowing way and is yet, so comfortable with it.
The second thing that works well is the chemistry between the two leads. Both Imran Khan and Sonam Kapoor are capable of being very good actors. They are attractive and highly likable leads. The film uses their personality and their chemistry with great success and that helps the movie tremendously. Imran Khan is funny, charming and sweet. Romantic comedies are his forte and he really should stick to them instead of digressing to mainstream action films. Sonam Kapoor finally gets a role that really suits her. She looks gorgeous, can be extremely funny and exudes sunshine and all things nice. Together, they look excellent together and as actors, complement each other every step of the way. It is their pairing that adds greatly to the freshness of the film which is its central appeal.
In terms of production, the look of the film is glossy and yet, not over the top like Johar’s own films. Karan Johar, I have come to realise is a very smart producer. He knows how to make a movie on a relatively small budget but give it the glossy look of a big budget film (the same is true of Wake Up Sid). Moreover, like Aamir Khan, he knows how to market it well enough to generate curiosity and sell it without having A-list stars or expensive price tags. The youthful, urban spirit is very well captured in the sets, costumes etc. The cinematography is excellent, particularly in the New Zealand portions. The music by Vishal-Shekhar is zesty and fun, clichéd and yet thoroughly enjoyable.
Having said that, there are quite a few things that go wrong. The Samir Dattani track looks fake and silly. It could have been written a lot better to leave a real impact. The film industry backdrop also is hardly believable at all. It is difficult to believe that a girl in her mid-20s is the main production designer on a big budget film. The director of the film (Samir Soni) looks more like a obnoxious idiot than a real director. I didn’t expect the setting to be as realistic as Luck By Chance or anything. However, the absolute flakiness of the depiction of the production of a film does mar the impact a lot. At the same time, the film settles into a very predictable mode half way through. While that is not surprising and the dialogues do salvage it to some extent, it is a little disappointing because of the sheer potential the basic premise actually had. Also, the final act of the film is too long drawn and meandering and made me check my watch several times. Trimming it by 15 minutes or so would have been ideal.
Nevertheless, there is just about enough here to recommend the movie. It is a great date movie and does not try or pretend to be anything more than that. It gives a fresh and fun treatment to an otherwise ordinary story. It's embellished with some great lines and even better performances. These help elevate it to a good romantic comedy worth your time.