Dhanush and Simbhu are apparently the young heroes competing against each other in Tamil cinema right now. If that were true, Dhanush undoubtedly has the upper hand. While he has recorded three hits and established himself as a capable actor, Simbhu has only one moderate hit(Dhum to his name so far. Alai, with its flimsy storyline, cliched sequences and Simbhu's irritating 'styles', has little chance of adding another hit to his career.
Aadhi(Simbhu) and Meera(Trisha) fall in love after the usual playful tiffs. On a visit to a friend's village for his marriage, the two of them help the friend stand up against his father and wed his sweetheart instead of the girl his father had fixed up his marriage with. But their act has some serious consequences and comes back to haunt them.
Alai joins recent movies like Eera Nilam and Bheeshmar that have little going on and is probably the worst culprit in the club. It has nothing but the small fights between Simbhu and Trisha on its agenda. Things show signs of looking up when the two help their friend out in the village but the movie once again settles down and this time, focusses on the romance between them. It is only in the last third(or even later) of the movie that something meaty happens.
Naturally, the romance is stretched out as much as possible in order to pad the running time. Unfortunately the romance follows a familiar, predictable path with few cute or innovative things to enliven the proceedings. We get the usual playful fights between the lead pair and a cliched sequence Trisha falls for Simbhu after he rescues her from some rowdies. There are a couple of interesting sequences(like both Simbhu and Trisha mistaking each other to be one half of the couple in love in the village) but not enough to hold up the romance for two hours. More time is spent on first Trisha and then Simbhu making the other jealous by feigning affection for someone else.
So, as has been the case in a number of recent movies, the director relies on Vivek to pad the running time. While not consistently funny, Vivek's comedy track, where he comes up with ways of swindling (exactly!) Rs. 2500 from women, does have its bright spots. His 'dance' routine to impress a girl from a dance school and his explanation of his family's police history are a couple of such funny sequences. In the main story, as soon as we learn of the consequences of Simbhu and Trisha helping their friends who are in love, it is clear how the movie is going to bring about its conflict. The movie doesn't surprise us and once it gets there, resolves is lamely also.
Simbhu doesn't look like a hero but it is clear that he thinks of himself as one. Inspite of the limited opportunities in a predominantly romantic movie, he still resorts to 'punch' dialogs and finger swishes when he gets the chance. Trisha looks pretty and is pretty generous in the song sequences. Raghuvaran(who looks surprisingly old) and Saranya play the typical affectionate parents. Vidyasagar's title song, Alai Adikkudhu... and the duet are both pretty catchy.