Directed by Dhawan's son Rohit, Desi Boyz is at least a step up from the nonsensical comic capers of yore.
Six years after pairing up for Garam Masala, John Abraham and Akshay Kumar join forces once more as two friends living in London who are hit hard by the economic downturn and find themselves jobless.
Jerry (Kumar) must think of a way to make some money when he is faced with the prospect of his orphaned nephew - whom he regards as a son - being taken into foster care. Meanwhile, Nick (Abraham) needs to rake in some cash to satiate the demands of his money-grabbing girlfriend, Radhika (Deepika Padukone), who dreams of a wedding, a honeymoon and a huge house to live in after they marry. Jerry and Nick reinvent themselves as 'Rocco' and 'Hunter', male escorts with a touch of the Chippendales about them. It's a decision that threatens their relationships and tests their friendship.
It's all rippling torsos as Kumar and Abraham don flying suits, dress up as firemen and pole dance in varying states of undress while being fawned over by similarly scantily clad dancing girls. Again and again, they make some rather suspect hip-thrusting dance moves. The duo appear to revel in the experience, and by virtue of some slick cinematography and a really catchy title track, they manage to get away with all of this without looking tawdry.
It's a testosterone-fuelled man-fest, and actually represents a good comic premise for a film aimed at a modern audience. The origins of the film - which was surely inspired by Deuce Bigalow, Male Gigolo - are easy to trace. But the opportunities for comic scenarios are not really exploited and the film ultimately succumbs to outmoded storytelling clichés.
There's a tendency to crank up the emotional quotient to unpalatable levels as a counterpoint to the comic sequences. The story is hinged around a rather weak custody case, allowing Kumar to indulge his penchant for over-earnest dialogue.
A jarring confrontation between Kumar and a University professor sees a dose of ill-placed jingoism, and a slow second half is rendered even worse by Chitrangada Singh's crass and decidedly unsavoury attempts to seduce Kumar.
Despite all this, the film is well-crafted and the dialogue is often snappy and wry. Deepika Padukone does a great job of looking good in the film and pouting on cue, while a stoned Anupam Kher making wisecracks about grass is priceless.
Abraham and Kumar share real camaraderie and it seems like a plausible friendship of a modern day Jai Veeru variety - albeit a rather more ripped incarnation. Their likeability is the cornerstone of why this film remains watchable, even in the face of some really dubious acting and a chaotic storyline.
There are moments when you will spontaneously crack up with laughter, and as long as you go in fully knowing what to expect, Desi Boyz isn't actually too much of an ordeal.
In part, it's even fun - and funny, and I defy you not to come out of the cinema singing the title track with a certain amount of gusto and a slight swagger in your step. Make some noise for the Desi Boyz and brace yourself for the sequel.