The script is replete with references and incidents during the lockdown that most of the youth as well as parents could connect with. And these evoke plenty of laughter, especially when it comes in the form of banter between three college students, who are stuck home.
Last Updated: 11.40 AM, May 13, 2022
Story: Set in the second pandemic lockdown, Jomon and Jomol are siblings who are growing increasingly frustrated being cooped up at home. Their Tom and Jerry equation makes matters worse, with them almost always at loggerheads. After Jomon finds a love letter, which he thinks is meant for Jomol, things take a turn as he along with his buddies Manoj Sundaran and Eby take it upon themselves to find her lover. Meanwhile, Jomol is also on a similar quest, to unravel what Jomon is up to. How the situation boils over form the plot of this fun entertainer about sibling rivalry and relationships during the pandemic lockdown.
Review: In the first few minutes of debutant director Arun D Jose’s Jo & Jo, there’s a scene where the mother keeps asking her daughter Jomol (Nikhila Vimal) to do the household chores including clean up her brother’s room. Jomol points out that it’s gender discrimination but soon the scene makes light of the entire moment. You would think that’s the tone in which the entire film goes, as it’s a fun entertainer that revolves around the problems and misunderstandings that the youth blow out of proportion. But that’s not all; director Arun, in the second half of the film, carefully weaves this extra layer from a daughter’s perspective into all the madness and chaos that happens, making it a solid debut for him.
Jo & Jo, at its core, is about relationships – between siblings, friends, parents and children. While there have been ample coming-of-age films that has touched upon these, the setting of a pandemic lockdown makes it truly relatable. The script is replete with references and incidents during the lockdown that most of the youth as well as parents could connect with. And these evoke plenty of laughter, especially when it comes in the form of banter between three college students, who are stuck home.
But the meaty part of the film comes in the scenes with Jomol and Jomon (Mathew Thomas), who go at each other every chance they get. Anyone who has siblings would easily relate to majority of the sequences and that’s where the script score again. The parents’ plight of unable to handle the siblings’ fights and their piercing retorts are realistically captured through the film. Jomon’s friends circle is riot with Manoj Sundaran (Naslen) and Eby (Melvin), shining in most of the comedy sequences with their effortless and natural acting. Naslen plays the elder of the two and also lends a maturity to the character, making it different the ones he has recently essayed in Makal, Super Sharanya and Pathrosinte Padappukal.
Some of the weightier scenes in the film involves Nikhila, perfectly justifying her casting. Her dialogues about how a daughter is brought up in a home compared to the son are also written such that it merges with the tone of the movie and doesn’t come across as preachy. Mathew as Jomon is a perfect foil. Sminu Sijo, Johny Antony as well as Kalabhavan Shajohn in a cameo play their parts well to make them memorable.
While the film works as a youth-centric entertainer, it does seem to target that audience more than the others. There’s a dialogue in the end where Jomol asks Jomon why she couldn’t clear the confusion by just asking her about it? In a way it also addresses the length of the film that could feel stretched with the makers squeezing in an extra subplot, even though it does elicit laughter. Govind Vasantha’s music helps keep the proceedings breezy and delightful, in tune with the youthful flavour of the film.
Verdict: Malayalam cinema has been churning out superhits in the young-adult genre with films such as Thaneer Mathan Dinangal and Super Sharanya, and Jo & Jo could easily be the latest. With great comedy, performances and music, the film is sure to appeal to the youth audience.