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05 12월, 2007

Quirky Fun

A Cheerful Gang Turns the Earth, is another one of those fun, totally out there, quintessentially Japanese movies that make you truly wish for a Hollywood that goes all out to create an engaging, off-the-wall movie without resorting to crude humour. Semi-psychedelic, lots of fun and full of little nuggets of absurdity,  A Cheerful Gang follows the story of four strangers who meet at a bank robbery and decided that they had the necessary skills and the oodles of panache required to pull off a true bank heist and do so just for the hell of it. Consisting of a skilled pickpocket, a guy who talks a whole lot and is in it for poops and giggles, a human lie detector and a woman with both an amazing sense of time and driving skills (a female who is always on time and can out-drive all the other males? what is this world coming to!).

What's not to love about this movie? Its off the wall fun, while having a distinct anime feel to its pacing, its storyline and even the special effects applied. They manage in 1 hour 30 or so minutes to also coherently weave in themes of lost dreams, precocious youth, and single motherhood with a light touch. The movie does turn towards darker themes such as kidnapping and a conniving ex-husband which weigh it down a touch in the second act, but it manages to redeem itself and has a not so unexpected ending done with a firm tongue-in-cheek. Mexicans might be a tad offended by some poor choices in names in the final scenes of this movie, though.

Think the Ocean's  series with more Japanese, more fun, loads of random moments and less self referential humour. Bonus question: Name three conditions needed to put an elephant in a fridge. Not really a head-scratcher but one of those throwaway bits in the movie that added to the keen sense of whimsy that I loved.

3.75 out of 5 some solid entertainment

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