"Endrendrum Punnagai" is not a film about the lives of three friends; it is about one despicable, self-centered and maddeningly unreasonable man who happens to have two friends. Gowtham, Sri and Baby are inseparable chaddi-buddies who run an advertising agency together. Due to his Mommy issues, Gowtham has a strong aversion towards womankind and, for some reason, expects his friends to remain bachelors for their life. Due to his Daddy issues, Gowtham is not on speaking terms anymore with his Father. Time decides to test their friendship.
Gowtham is a self-entitled prick who wouldn't talk to his Father but continues to live in his bungalow and shamelessly drives around in a BMW which he could not have earned. I have seriously begun to wonder why Jiiva is so open to playing characters with a tendency to often be a complete asshole. I had same issues with how his character treated the girl he fancied in "Siva Manasula Sakthi". Most people who watched theat film for just its comedy didn't take offense because, to them, SMS stood for "Siva Manasula Santhanam". The way his Gowtham casually disposes his lifelong friends for something so petty, "Endrendrum Punnagai" only keeps giving you more and more reasons to hate him. Blaming his Mommy issues for his unreasonable and pathetic attitude is such a convenient excuse. I sort of know what it feels like to lose a close friend, but the film offered me no reason to relate to it.
With Andrea's Soniya and Trisha's Priya, "Endrendrum Punnagai" glorifies the preexisting Virgin-Whore dichotomy in female characterizations in our films. While one is an absurdly promiscuous woman who hornily bites the ear of the man she met for the first time a few minutes ago, the other is a pushover in Salwar Kameez who cries for something that's not her fault. Even within the context of its casual slut-shaming, the character of Soniya, besides being completely irrelevant to the plot, is made out to be a total bitch who halts a shooting of an ad-film in Europe for bafflingly random power trips.
In order to please the lowest common denominator, and because the male point of view is all that matters, the film continues to bash the wives for turning marriages into a living hell. One friend of Gowtham who was very much in love and hopeful before his wedding is now saying, "phone eh vai di, tortue pannatha!" to his wife of few months. Even Gowtham's Mother is referred to as the Odi Pona Amma by everyone in the film, including his Father. Who even knows what happened there? Sri and Baby reveal to Gowtham that they got married because that was his father's last wish. Then what about the lives of the women they are married to? They didn't sign up for a lifetime with sexist alcoholics. Why is Director Ahmed so deeply misogynistic?
At the end, Gowtham doesn't tell Priya that she makes him want to be a better person. Instead, he thanks her for changing him into a "nalla manushan". It's done and dusted, apparently. After all that he has done to the people around him, Gowtham is completely undeserving of happiness- not so soon, anyway. But because he is the "hero", the film lets him off the hook way too easily. He makes up with his Father and even gets the girl he so doesn't deserve. Besides awful product placements and useless America mapillais, it is the shoehorned character transformation that's keeping this love story from rising above clichés.