Doctor ★★★

One thing writer-director Nelson Dilipkumar's good at is infusing wry humor into conventionally serious situations. In Doctor, he sticks to his core strengths, plotting a bunch of misfits who come together to battle a kidnapping situation. Another director would have milked the family angle so much to extract more sentiment, but Nelson chooses to make us laugh instead. While SK's deadpan act works, given how the character is etched, the supporting cast totally nails it. Led by Yogi Babu and Redin Kingsley, both in top-form, the film generates situational laughs during many scenes, especially in the middle portions.

Once the film moves to Goa, the laughs dwindle slightly, but the engagement factor remains on the higher side. A big chunk of the packaging is on Anirudh's musical score, which again works so darn well. There's also a fun lights-out action scene inside a metro which is superbly staged, with every actor doing complete justice to their parts. The final 20 minutes lack the much-needed closing punch, but when the credits start rolling, you forget what the main plot was because by then, it's the supporting cast and their inherent wackiness that you'll remember Doctor for. What Lokesh Kanagaraj managed to do with the action genre - giving mainstream Tamil cinema a much-needed update - Nelson's trying to do with dark comedies. The absurdity levels remain at their peak all through.

Overall it's a fun watch if you can ignore some of the casual misogyny and gender-based humor (why's a man dressing up as a woman perceived to be funny in 2021?). The heroine is reduced to an unintelligent pawn, and it was weird to see her family stay quiet while SK's character keeps making snarky remarks. Just because SK's character is a do-gooder doesn't take away his toxic traits. I'm hoping Nelson doesn't amp this up in his next film with Vijay.

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