Review: ‘F3: Fun and Frustration,’ starring Venkatesh Daggubati and Varun Tej

June 6, 2022

by Carla Hay

Venkatesh Daggubati, Varun Tej and Mehreen Pirzada in “F3: Fun and Frustration” (Photo courtesy of Sri Venkateswara Creations)

“F3: Fun and Frustration”

Directed by Anil Ravipudi

Telugu with subtitles

Culture Representation: Taking place in Hyderabad, India, the comedy film “F3: Fun and Frustration” features an all-Indian cast of characters representing the working-class, middle-class and wealthy.

Culture Clash: Two men with financial problems come up with “get rich quick” schemes, but their plans keep getting ruined for various reasons.

Culture Audience: “F3: Fun and Frustration” will appeal primarily to people who don’t mind watching hyperactive silliness in a two-and-a-half-hour movie.

Murali Sharma in “F3: Fun and Frustration” (Photo courtesy of Sri Venkateswara Creations)

“F3: Fun and Frustration” offers very little fun and a lot of frustration. It’s a witless comedy, manically told with terrible acting, in an irritating story that’s overstretched to two-and-a-half hours. What makes this movie even more difficult to watch is that it has no self-awareness about how bad it is. “F3: Fun and Frustration” tries to cram in as many dumb ideas as possible, thereby making the story lurch around from one horrible subplot to the next.

Written and directed by Anil Ravipudi, “F3: Fun and Frustration” is a sequel to the 2019 film “F2: Fun and Frustration.” Unfortunately, “F3: Fun and Frustration” gets trapped in a pitfall that plagues many sequels: In trying to surpass its predecessor, the sequel overstuffs the plot with too many things, thereby lacking a real focus and leaving major plot holes in its wake.

“F3: Fun and Frustration,” just like its predecessor, is supposed to be a wacky comedy. But “wacky” should not mean “incoherent.” The only consistent thing about the movie is that two friends named Venky (played by Venkatesh Daggubati) and Varun (played by Varun Tej, also known as Konidela Varun Tej) are still two buffoons who get caught up impersonating people as part of their foolish schemes. In “F2: Fun and Frustration,” Venky and Varun had false identities in order to prevent their love interests from getting married to other people. In “F3: Fun and Frustration,” the two pals assume fake personas as part of a con game to get rich quick.

In the beginning of “F3: Fun and Frustration” Venky is an agent working for the Regional Transport Office in Hyderabad, India. He’s married to Harika (played by Tamannaah Bhatia), who has a large and meddling family whose surname is Chambal. Venky has a strained relationship with his father (played by Goparaju Ramana) and his father’s second wife (played by Tulasi), who have four other children together. Venky’s mother died when Venky was a child, so Venky feels resentment about his father’s second marriage and the new family that his father started with Venky’s stepmother.

Venky lost almost all of his money when he invested in a restaurant owned by Harika’s family. As shown in a brief flashback, the day that restaurant opened, it had the misfortune of a food inspector eating at the restaurant and getting food poisoning. Venky says, “Our opening day became our closing day.”

Meanwhile, Venky’s best friend Varun is also having financial problems because he invested in the failed restaurant too. Varun is a fairly successful businessman who has won awards for his business skills, but his reputation becomes tainted because of his association with a criminal uncle named Katthi Seenu (played by Sunil Varma), a local thug and extortionist. In order to ease his financial woes, Varun decides he needs to find a rich woman to marry.

This is where the movie starts to get stupid: Varun meets a woman in a restaurant named Honey (played by Mehreen Pirzada), whom he thinks is a rich woman. Because Varun has a stutter, he asks Venky to pose as a rich business heir named Varun, in order to court Honey. Venky has night blindness, so when he meets Honey for a date at night, he doesn’t recognize that Honey is Harika’s sister.

Meanwhile, a police officer named Nagaraju (played by Rajendra Prasad) becomes a local hero for discovering an illegal election fund in cash worth two crores, which is about $258,000 ( U.S. dollars) in early 2020s money. Many people in the story end up competing with each other to find the cash after it gets stolen. Take a wild guess who two of those people are.

“F3: Fun and Frustration” also has moronic plot developments involving a successful businessman named Anand Prasad (played by Murali Sharma), who owns a toy manufacturing company called JK Industries. Varun and Venky see Anand doing a TV interview lamenting over his son, whom he says ran away from home 20 years ago, when the boy was 10 years old. Anand says that his son has been missing ever since.

It doesn’t take long for Varun and Venky to come up with a plan to impersonate the son. But these two dimwits end up impersonating the son at the same time, along with Harika (who’s disguised as a man) and a few other people who show up at Anand’s palace pretending to be the long-lost son. It gets worse. Anand apparently can’t decide which of these very different-looking people could be his son, so he decides these people claiming to be his long-lost son will enter a toy-making contest for JK Industries. Whoever sells the most toys will be all the proof he needs of who is his son.

And what about the mistaken identity of Honey? What about the cash that Nagaraju found and has now gone missing? These subplots get tangled up with others until everything because a giant mess that’s made worse by the entire cast mugging and over-acting for the cameras in desperate attempts to be funny. Absolutely no one in the cast does a performance that can save this train wreck of a movie.

It would be an understatement to say that the overly long “F3: Fun and Frustration” has atrocious editing. This horrific movie seems to go on and on with more idiocy piled on top of more idiocy, until all hope is buried that this movie will find some way of being coherent and engaging. It’s as if the filmmakers think that distracting viewers with more plot twists that insult viewers’ intelligence somehow will make the movie funnier. After trying and failing to be a hilarious screwball comedy for most of the movie, “F3: Fun and Frustration” has a sappy and maudlin ending that’s as phony as the personas used in the movie’s pathetic con games.

Sri Venkateswara Creations released “F3: Fun and Frustration” in select U.S. cinemas and in India on May 27, 2022.

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