Some films are simply unapologetic star vehicles.
There's another theory I've got on Rajapattai, and it goes something like this: after Raavan(an) and Deiva Thirumagal, all of them serious, involved, challenging and lauded roles, maybe Vikram just wanted a day off.
But, being the kind of actor he is, this is him on a day off.
I'll explain further: I'm sure some people on-set took the making of Rajapattai very seriously. Some of the plot does attempt the same sort of socially conscious message that most Tamil action masalas chuck at their audiences. Still, at the core, Rajapattai is a mix of comedy that spoofs the film industry and various excuses for Vikram just to be Vikram - from being funny to being a badass, to being a romantic hero at some Italian locale. That's really all this film is, when it comes down to it.
The plot goes a little something like this: Vikram plays a gym boy (that extra who plays a rowdy in Tamil film action scenes, and usually gets beaten by the hero pretty easily) who dreams of becoming a villain. He can talk the talk, he can walk the walk. He saves an old guy from some real life goons and the old guy tells him what's up: his son is trying to destroy the orphanage the old man and his late wife built. As you might have guessed, this turns Vikram's character into a real life hero. The heroine Deeksha Seth is sympathetic but given a role that is criminally underwritten - she is almost literally just there for the songs and to get into trouble. Also note-worthy is the fact that the villain, a corrupt politician naturally, in this is a woman.
Perhaps one problem with the film is that it doesn't quite commit to its spoof elements, nor the serious underpinnings of its thin storyline. It's a Vikram vehicle, and it's just kind of a silly one, but it's not to silly that you would laugh your head off, if you weren't in the right mood. It kind of walks a very, very fine line in this department.
I always said that Om Shanti Om's greatest problem was that it tried to be serious during its second half, when the first was spent in Goofville, Population: Hilarious. I suppose you could lob the same accusation at Rajapattai, but I forgive it, because it's just not trying very hard. It's a dumb film with elements of spoof, elements of self-referentialness, and in many ways it does feel like Vikram's day off. He's not lazy with his acting here, but he is having a ton of fun with it, and that shows. Maybe some would call this a missed opportunity at delivering a solid, every-genre-delivered-upon masala, in the style of Anniyan or something. But call me easy to please - I enjoyed the hell out of this silly movie. To me, it just fulfilled its purpose.
There are things that make you wonder, to be honest - is Vikram's painfully obvious "youthful look" stylist taking part in the spoof hijinks or just a major fashion crime? Regardless, I laughed my head off at his designer facial hair and silly dyed faux-hawk. If nothing else, the hilarious action scenes are worthwhile, and for all the serious plot the movie throws at us, the climactic fight scene also features Vikram's character just kind of playing around with his opponent.
So maybe to some, this film isn't worth the hairdye spent on its main star, but for me, it was just a terrifically fun ride.