Fine, Totally Fine 全然大丈夫 (完全没问题) (Zenzen daijobu) [2008] • Japan

This is a subtle, almost surreal comedy that wanders along at a slow pace, punctuated with bits of low-brow humor to keep it alive. It's also an odd little romance and a root-for-the-losers character drama, but there's never any high drama, as the film never gets out of lazy Sunday afternoon mode. The comedy and romance are spices in the mix of everyday people turning thirty, going nowhere fast, who end up going from not so good to not so bad after all. When the humor is subtle or sad it's great, but not so good when it resorts to the juvenile, like when a booger flies across the room and lands in someone's eye. Comedy is tough and everyone has a style that suits them. I could have done without the more broad-based physical bits but they do serve a purpose as little alarms for those who don't appreciate two hours of deadpan, no matter how funny it is. The director demonstrates a good amount of skill in using editing for comic timing, and he was wise to cast YosiYosi Arakawa as the guy to do the heavy lifting when it comes to the “Life’s more fun when you’re an idiot” bits.

I recommend this film to those who like slow comedies, but also to those who like whatever you call these uplifting films about everyday people who don't become rock stars or win the Olympics but just get along and find happiness in everyday life. I love the way the film ends and anti-resolves a love triangle we weren't sure was going to turn out to be much of a plot point. I wanted to reach through my screen and hug the crap out of Yoshino Kimura. Her performance really surprised me. What a pleasure to see her do comedy, albeit of the low-key and clumsy kind.

And even though her part is very small, any film with Noriko Eguchi gets points just for having her.

Director: Yosuke Fujita
Starring: YosiYosi Arakawa, Yoshino Kimura, Yoshinori Okada, Noriko Eguchi, Shima Ise


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