Toronto.com provides this presentation for the movie which I find decent:
"Life in the 1990's was remarkably different for the average Indian. Consumerism had not set in. It was devoid of most of the luxuries of the West. In fact everything "imported" was good, and everything Indian, passé. "Badmaash Company"is an extraordinary story set in the 1990s in middle class Bombay of four ordinary youngsters - Karan (Shahid Kapoor), Bulbul (Anushka Sharma), Zing (Meiyang Chang), and Chandu (Vir Das) - who came together to start an import business of things longed for by yuppie Indians!"
Right from the beginning, our two girls started arguing in my head and did not let up until long after the movie had ended.
Namak: Nice, I like the voiceover. Smart of them to do an intro to explain what the times were like. I wouldn't have known that about India.
Dolce: Hm... Sure, it's nice, but why was it necessary? 1994 was not that long ago. Surely people would either remember or know stories about those years. Don't tell me this movie is meant to woo foreign audiences!
Dolce was right. Not only is it meant for them, but it is also done very Hollywood for my tastes. Dolce ended up missing her Bollywood deeply during this one. Already the big dance numbers are few and far between (and none here), lip syncing to great songs is going extinct (and this movie confirms it) and the Indian glitz and glitter is wearing dull (in fact, there's none of it in this particular movie), but now we've lost even the not-so-great features that make Bollywood... Bollywood! Such as the big emotional scenes, the big impractical love stories, the big family drama that transcends time and space... Nope, none of that left here.
Namak: Hey, I didn't miss that at all! In fact I was grateful that after the big teary scene between Karan and Bulbul, there wasn't another one with his dad!
Dolce: But even the big teary scene you mentioned had Hollywood style dialogues! (Though admittedly I did like the proposal dialogue)
Namak: Well, maybe that's how people talk now. Are we going to try to stop globalization to rescue Bollywood?
Dolce: No, but it's a shame that they're trying so hard to be on this side of the Atlantic...
Namak: It's ok, I felt there was plenty Bollywoodness in the Bleeding Madras plot twist. I mean, talk about getting filmi!
This goes on for a while. They do manage to agree that the first two cons were rather brilliant and cleverly presented. In the meantime the movie has moved to the US where it attempts a housing bubble based stunt, and once again Dolce and Namak surprisingly agree: this one was lame! I suppose research about how one obtains a loan in the US and the basic conditions that have to be met (such as a credit history) was an afterthought rudely dismissed by the producers.
On the final scheme put together by the four friends, they disagree again:
Namak: This is the worst! I know people are gullible and a good tagline can make them do almost anything, but still: a celebrity endorsement and marketing can't possibly make a defective product successful. (And as she's saying that, Namak realizes that she may have a little too much faith in people's critical judgment. Luckily, she doesn't get called on this statement.)
Dolce: I enjoyed the last scheme the most! It was so deliciously over the top that I appreciated it for what it was: filmi ridiculousness!
By the end of the movie, I did see why Shahid took on this role (or at least that's what I choose to believe, instead of believing he's become a Yash Raj sl*t). It was the negative side of the character. Karan spends more than half the movie being despicable and essentially a jerk. Shahid wanted to see if he could pull it off. He did. I'll admit that he could even sell me a bikini in Alaska, but that's one point where he has so far never let me down: good acting. I know he'll always deliver it, so I'm on board with his characters no matter what they do.
I guess the biggest problem with this film is that you already know how it will end. Come on, we've all seen Catch Me if You Can! But it's enjoyable nonetheless, as soon as you start taking it for what it really is: a mass entertainer that has had its Bollywood-ness surgically removed, and its Indian-ness photoshopped.
Badmaash Company for me was like Oka cheese. It sounds like a great imported delicacy but when you read the label you realize it's made right here in Canada and there is nothing exotic about it. Decent cheese, sure, just not very exciting.