Ladies vs. Ricky Bahl is a disappointing fare for a number of reasons. First, the pacing is sluggish. It has a simple premise. Three women hire another to con the man that conned them. Things complicate when the con woman and the con man fall in love. This wafer thin premise is stretched unnecessarily over 140 minutes. The film is overlong by at least half hour. Songs are thrown in at random and seem forced, particularly the first one which appears within three minutes of the film’s opening. Their forgettable tunes don’t help things much.
The plotting only makes things worse. Unlike the clean, uncomplicated storytelling that we saw in Band, Baaja Baaraat, the film’s graph is erratic and the result is a mess. If the first half takes too long to set up the premise, the second half is handicapped by some ridiculous, plotting. The con game is silly, unbelievable and laborious. Beyond the loud mouthed Dimple, there is little by way of humour. The writing is stale. The love story between Ricky (Ranveer Singh) and Ishika (Anushka Sharma) is extremely poorly developed. They have chemistry, undoubtedly so. But the director doesn’t seem to know what to do with it.
Of course, the proceedings are made bearable by the bubbly vivaciousness of Anushka Sharma and the chemistry she shares with co-star Ranveer Singh. They do their best with the lackluster material that they’re given to work with. Sharma lights up the screen and brings life to the otherwise dull proceedings. She also looks irresistible. What is disappointing though is that Ranveer Singh is stripped of the rugged, mofussil charm that made him so endearing in his maiden film. Too quickly, he has been packaged into a slick, suave product ready to be marketed. Typical, given that it is Yash Raj Films. But sad nevertheless. The supporting performances are solid. Particularly noteworthy is the debut of Parineeti Chopra who brings the house down in places with her loud mouthed, spoilt Delhi girl act.
On the whole, Ladies vs. Ricky Bahl lacks many of the things that made Band Baaja Baaraat so popular: fresh writing, well fleshed out characters, clean storytelling, great music. It is a surprisingly lifeless enterprise. A sizable disappointment, this one’s strictly to be seen with low expectations, especially in terms of logic.