A comedy caper centred on cussed, crooked individuals out to outsmarting each other, when handled right, can yield an enjoyable genre film.
But Crazy Cukkad Family (CCF), produced by Prakash Jha and directed by first-timer Ritesh Menon, is a complete misfire despite being laced with promising ingredients.
The film bites off more than it can chew and the result is a desultory drama that makes a hopeless mess of its mix of humour and emotion.
A wealthy old man slips into a coma and his four children rush to his sprawling villa in the hills. But they have no interest in keeping vigil by his hospital bedside. Their sights are set on his property.
Leading the quartet of greedy siblings is the eldest Pawan Beri (lyricist Swanand Kirkire in his first full-fledged screen role), who needs a pot of gold to pay off a criminal politician who lent him money and is now baying for his blood.
His sis, Archana (Shilpa Shukla), is more than a match for him. Having lost her chance to enter the Miss India contest, she is now determined to make the Mrs India cut. But to get there, she must first lay her hands on her dying dad's riches.
The other two claimants to the estate, a brother from New York (Kushal Punjabi), who returns with an American wife (Nora Fatehi), and another from New Zealand (Siddharth Sharma) land in their midst with their own nefarious ideas.
In this topsy-turvy world of the very, very wild Beris, the audience has to contend with a host of other eccentrics, including a shrill item girl who is picked as bride-to-be for the only unmarried sibling.
The old man's will has laid down a baffling precondition: his children will qualify for inheritance only when all of them are legally married. Hence the unseemly scramble.
Crazy Cukkad Family is an attempted comedy about a dysfunctional brood with more than its share of dark secrets that need concealment. But truths have a way of tumbling out of the closet and when they do mayhem is unleashed.
Director Menon, erstwhile assistant to Santosh Sivan, demonstrates none of the skills that the acclaimed cinematographer-filmmaker would have exposed him to.
So what could have been an intriguing black comedy degenerates into a nondescript romp that isn't remotely amusing.
The screenplay goes helter-skelter in search of laughs, but at no point does Crazy Cukkad Family show any possibility of developing into even a mildly entertaining film.
Kirkire gives his sketchy role his best shot. Shilpa Shukla, too, grabs her moments, but given the lack of substance inherent in the storyline, the actors are left clutching at straws.
Logic isn't the strong point of Crazy Cukkad Family, neither is finesse. So it ends up being a film that is funny but only for the wrong reasons.