Saji Surendran's Four Friends has been clearly inspired by the emotional Hollywood tearjerker The Bucket List, and instead of two friends in the original talks of four friends who go on a final journey before they kick the bucket.
Jayaram gets to play Roy, the desi version of Jack Nicholson's Edward Cole, a multimillionaire who takes a man (Morgan Freeman) whom he befriended at a cancer care center on a world trip. Krishna Poojappura has substituted Morgan with three characters, Soorya (Kunchacko Boban), Amir (Jayasurya) and Gouri (Meera Jasmine).
The four friends plan a trip to Malaysia in Saji Surendran's film, since the Hollywood film journey that takes the pair along different countries like France, Egypt and finally India must have sounded slightly unrealistic, budget wise. What follows though, is pretty much the same and they age a battle emotions and family ties along with the much dreaded illness.
The Bucket List is a delightful watch, I'm sure many of you would agree. There are quite a few things that make the film dear to the viewer, the major one being that though it deals with a theme that runs the danger of slipping into melodrama, it very seldom does. There are plenty of hilarious moments in the sad film, and thanks to the leading pair's amazing chemistry the film has made it to the favorites list of quite a few.
Four Friends on the other hand has nothing of the emotional power or depth that The Bucket List has. On the contrary, it appears to be a tear wrench of a film that is on the look out for sequences that have a theatrical flavor to them. But the final point is that there are very few of these story strings that would move us and instead take us back to an age and time when films that talked of disease and the inevitable end that lies in wait were received with much interest.
I can very easily pick the only two reasons for you to watch the film. The first one is the very effectively used cameo performance in the film by Kamal Hassan. It is undoubtedly the best part of the film, not on account of Kamal's star power or charisma, but because it presents him as a very down to earth individual who talks to us as to how the mind dictates to the disease. The dialogues that are quite realistic, draws examples from real life, and the results are real good.
The second reason is Jayasurya. This is an actor who has been experimenting not merely with looks in one film after the other, but also shows a great dedication to the roles that he gets to play. Of the four friends, there is only one character that you would identify with, and that is Amir. And without doubt, this is courtesy a rollicking performance by Jayasurya who turns out to be the life saver in this film.
Apart from the above mentioned reasons, Four Friends might be a real disappointment. The best thing to do would be to head to the local video store, get a DVD of The Bucket List, and watch the infinitely better done version in the quite confines of your living room.