Similar to yesterdays review, Quirky Guys and Gals is a Japanese anthology of short films combined to make a greater film project. Except, instead of horror, we have comedy! Yosuke Fujita (Fine, Totally Fine) leads off with “Cheer Girls,” an entertaining tale of a woman (Nanami Sakuraba) whose passion is to lead cheers–though not for sports teams. Rather, she finds common people and creates anthems to encourage them in everyday life. Other stories include a quaint tale of a housewife who collects out-of-work salarymen to try and give them a fresh start, and a Tootsie remake in a high-school setting.
I should clarify that these are all good stories but ultimately, it is a bad film. How so? Well, my primary flaw with the film as a whole is that the film is too short to properly develop its ideas. It is the one segment that would have actually benefited from being made into a full-length film, to give more substance to the characters and emerging narrative threads. So, with that said, whilst original, they come across as rather lazy and it often feels as though a lot of the film was filmed on the fly and overly-improvised. The first section (Cheer Girls), is in my opinion, by far the best. Totally random and bizarre on all levels it made me laugh watching three over the top high school cheerleaders cheering on people doing regular things such as a young boy tying his shoelace and a waiter struggling to open a jar. In this section, the overplaying of the characters is a requirement rather than a fault.
Third is a tale about a single woman who complains to her power company when she’s cut off for not payingn the bills. A man comes round to apologise and she lures him into her flat for shabu-shabu (wafer thin pork and veg in a boiling soup) and sets about trying to seduce him – the ending is very funny. The directors have done well to match their brief and the title is a very good indicator for the type of film you’ll find here. There is a common theme, that of the quirky directness of their respective characters, but these stories are completely separate from each other.
Overall, this is a solid selection of shorts for an anthology. Despite the obvious low budget constraints and mediocre dialogue, the segments are enjoyable and worthy of your time. But having said all that, Quirky Guys and Gals was funnier than it had any right to be. I certainly wasn’t expecting to be laughing out loud as much as I did. These stories are all different, and very funny in their own quirky ways. Nothing terrifically life-changing here, but a rollicking 91 minutes of fun, and another bit of filmic proof of how odd Japanese sub-cultures can be. Quite enjoyable.