a page of madness

film writing by nicholas vroman

Mahoro ekimae tada benriken / まほろ駅前多田便利軒

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Despite the genial chemistry between stars Ryûhei Matsuda (Gohatto, Boys on the Run) and Eita (Dear Doctor, Toad’s Oil), Mahoro ekimae tada benriken’s wandering plot and offhand asides make for a directionless and ultimately unsatisfying ride. Tatsushi Omori, whose A Crowd of Three suffered from a similar sort laziness in direction, has tried to make a slacker something-or-other that’s neither comic nor culturally incisive enough to merit much laughter or discussion. Based on Shion Miura’s 2006 Naoko prize winning novel of the same name, the wandering story follows the lives of a fix-it man (Eita) and his sidekick (Matsuda) as their lives intersect with a handful of moderately colorful characters that they run across as they go about their odd jobs. These few loose subplots that pepper the larger arc of the primary buddy relationship are mostly inconsequential and not particularly well developed. Plus there’s a basic sexism in Omori’s worldview – not quite as heinous as his treatment of Sakura Ando in his previous film – that rears its ugly head in his new oeuvre.

Originally published in EL Magazine, April 2011

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