Welcome Back, Mr. McDonald

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A pretty good Japanese comedy from a few years back. It's not quite as wonderful as Shall We Dance, but kept both Mrs. Salad and I chuckling all the way through. It won four Japanese Oscars, and was nominated for nine more. (It was beaten for Best Movie by Princess Mononoke, so… yeah, OK, I agree with that.)

It's the tale of a mousy housewife, married to a used car salesman. She's won a radio station contest to write a play to be performed live on air. (But it's revealed near the beginning that hers was the only contest entry.) It's a tender drama of a woman not unlike herself, working at a pachinko parlor, swept off her feet by an illicit romance…

So it's her big night. And the rehearsal goes swimmingly.

That is, until the diva lead actress demands just one little change in the minutes before airtime. This causes the lead actor to demand his changes. Which, in turn, requires more script surgery. Things snowball, and the action gets progressively more zany.

There's a nice little comic performance from Ken Watanabe, known to us Americans from Letters from Iwo Jima, Batman Begins, and The Last Samurai. He plays a truck driver caught up in the increasingly unlikely drama, as it plays out over the airwaves.

Consumer note: dubbing unavailable; you have to read the subtitles.

Last Modified 2012-10-03 11:35 AM EST