(Note: Spoilers ahead)Friends, there’s new Netflix content in town and it’s once again...disappointing (no points for guessing that one).When the trailer of What Are The Odds? dropped, just two days before the film would start streaming on Netflix, I did find myself looking forward to it for multiple reasons. The 70-second trailer promised a certain kind of quirky sincerity. Two teenagers with wildly different attitudes and lives end up crossing paths. As their worlds collide, they find themselves in a whimsical coming-of-age adventure of sorts.Sadly, 15 minutes into the film, all the illusions had shattered and I was left with just one thought - is it worth sitting through this 1.5-hour mediocrity just for a few glimpses of Abhay Deol?The directorial debut of Meghna Ramaswamy, starring Yashaswini Dayama and Karanvir Malhotra in the lead, What Are The Odds? has the ambitious drive of a cute slice-of-life YA film that is also visually fascinating but in reality, it barely dips its toes in the genre. The allure of magic-realism barely exists. In fact, the dialogues, the music, the pretentiousness of What Are The Odds? - all of that makes it evident that Ramaswamy is trying too hard to keep her narrative edgy, but miserably failing at it.The problem with What Are The Odds? is not that the individual cinematic elements fail to come together for a delightful experience; rather it’s one particular aspect that visibly juts out and can’t be ignored. The relationship dynamic between 14-year-old Vivek (Yashaswini Dayama) and 40-year-old Val (Abhay Deol).In the film, 40-year-old Val, a grown adult man who is also a musician, recruits the 14-year-old Vivek (yes, it’s a girl’s name, get over it). Vivek is exceptionally talented - but given her age, she’s also naive. Now, from the trailer, we already know that Vivek develops a little crush on Abhay Deol’s character. Honestly, I don’t blame her - besides who hasn’t crushed on a teacher? But portraying a relationship like this which has the potential to turn problematic at any point requires clever, cautious writing. Something that’s evidently missing in What Are The Odds?Halfway through the film, Abhay Deol’s Val asks Vivek if something’s bothering her. To which Vivek responds with, “What about us? You and me? There’s obviously something.” This unexpected confrontation is followed by a sudden kiss (more of a peck, actually), initiated by her. She then goes on to prove how “40-year-olds date teenagers all the time”, meanwhile Abhay Deol is sitting there and smirking. He is visibly amused.The problems with this scene alone are many. Firstly, it’s absolutely unnecessary. There’s nothing quirky about it and the interaction feels more creepy than...cute (if that was the intention). Secondly, the scene has no connection to the first 45 minutes of the film prior to Deol’s entry and feels like a desperately misplaced subplot.But that alone isn’t the issue. While promoting the film on his Instagram, Abhay Deol posted this scene with a very problematic caption. He made a very dark reference to one of Vladimir Nabokov’s most controversial works, Lolita - a story about a paedophile who develops a sexual relationship with his underage stepdaughter.His exact words are, “No “Lolita” for Val. But will Vivek see reason?”I am sorry Abhay but what were you thinking?! That’s a gross reference.(Remember when Shilpa Shetty said George Orwell’s Animal Farm would teach children to love and care for animals?)In fact, Abhay Deol’s character seems to have been forcefully included in the script just so Karanvir Malhotra’s character, Ashwin, can later confront him in another unnecessary scene.At some point, Vivek and Ashwin stumble into a bar where Val’s band is performing. Vivek is mortified but also angry because Val has allegedly stolen Vivek’s song. Even if I were to keep aside the fact that this incident (which is left unexplored) gives the Val-Vivek relationship a very exploitative angle, it still snowballs into something very cringe-y as Ashwin tries to stand up for Vivek. Eventually, Vivek decides to step in and confront Val’s thievery at which point Abhay Deol’s character actually tries to belittle her by accusing her of stalking him.Little resolution is offered after this extremely layered mess and even the half-hearted attempt at comic relief (Ashwin tries to punch Deol but ends up hurting himself) fails.The thing with trying to experiment with this particular narrative style is that it either works or it doesn’t. There’s absolutely no midground. When it comes to What Are The Odds?, the film’s heart seems to be in the right place but too many unnecessary elements and messy writing is what brings it down.Netflix’s ‘Mrs. Serial Killer’ in Precisely 20 Honest Thoughts We'll get through this! Meanwhile, here's all you need to know about the Coronavirus outbreak to keep yourself safe, informed, and updated. The Quint is now available on Telegram & WhatsApp too, Click here to join.