Lucky Ears is an initially engaging but ultimately frustrating romantic comedy. Starring Kankuro Kudo as the lad with the lucky lobes, a newly hired kitchen worker at a retirement home, Fukumimi also features the great Kunie Tanaka as a restless spirit who inhabits Kudo's body during the hapless youngster's first day on the job. The reason? Tanaka claims he has unfinished business to complete with a beautiful fellow retiree (Yoko Tsukasa from Samurai Rebellion and 70s disaster flick The Last Days of Planet Earth). Standing in his way are other elderly residents, including nutty naval vet Jiro Sakagami and an impossibly effeminate tranny played by kaiju eiga star Akira Takarada. Sounds wacky, right? Well, unfortunately, Lucky Ears is actually an overlong, awkward, and mawkish meditation on love and death that outlives its welcome after barely half an hour. The split personality scenes between Kudo and Tanaka are badly staged, and Kudo simply doesn't have the skills to portray two characters at the same time, though he's reasonably engaging in the film's early scenes. Tanaka brings undeserved gravitas to his role, but is burdened by a bad screenplay filled with platitudes and pious pronouncements on fate and life. Tsukasa is decent in a thankless role as the object of affection, and Shiho Takano serves as attractive love interest for Kudo (when his body ISN'T inhabited by Tanaka's spirit). In the final analysis, Fukumimi plays like an overlong made for television movie (and though the film apparently had a theatrical release, it WAS produced by Fuji TV)and will send most occidental viewers into a diabetic coma.
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