In the middle of a fierce commercial competition between three caramel companies, an executive builds up a ditsy teenage girl as a mascot while simultaneously trying to uncover the rival companies' plans.
Katsumi is a university student who has no respect for his hardworking parents, his professors, or even his friends. He helps one friend obtain a loan to finance a dance, by humiliating his... See full summary »
As much a film of its moment as Sweet Smell of Success and just as lasting in its pertinence, this cruel satire is Masumura's masterpiece - although an excellent script (from a Ken Kaiko novel) and terrific cast deserve their share of the credit. Three confectionery companies are locked in cut-throat rivalry for a share of a market increasingly dominated by imported US candy. Goda (Takamatsu), a thrusting young exec with World Caramel, spots a young woman out shopping and decides to turn her into a celebrity who can star in his plan for a space age ad campaign. Kyoko Shima (Nozoe), averagely pretty and with exceptionally bad teeth, takes to the Pygmalion treatment like a duck to water and soon leaves behind her job with a failing taxi firm and her dysfunctional family. Goda's assistant Nishi (Kawaguchi), who dates a woman exec from a rival firm and proves a useless industrial spy, watches as both the girl and his boss succumb to mega-greed; the film's ending turns on whether or not ... Written by
While I did enjoy the stylish photography and the sometimes clever characterization, the movies ham-handed handling of theme was too much. The theme is thrown at the viewer often, including being inserted into several scenes of preachy dialogue.
The story was obviously written around a theme, first, and failed to maintain emotionally engaging characters throughout. Too bad, as several characters became interesting, only to have that interest thrown away by another dialogue rant and an abrupt ending that doesn't build to a satisfying moral dilemma - the character dilemma is certainly there, but the story engagement is not enough to make me care.
I dislike rating any art with a measurement, such as the 5 out of 10 stars I gave this film; measurements are meaningless when it comes to art - they can't be proved with a yardstick, so to speak. So take my rating with a grain of salt. You may absolutely love this movie.
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