North American Premiere
118 minutes, in Japanese with English subtitles
Directed by: Hitoshi One
Starring: Masami Nagasawa, Mirai Moriyama, Kumiko Aso, Yoko Maki
Masami Nagasawa will receive the Star Asia Rising Star Award at the screening of LOVE STRIKES! on Saturday, July 14 @ 7:15pm. The screening will be followed by the Striking Love party featuring lots of free food and beer!
Saturday, July 14 @ 7:15pm (buy tickets & come to the party, too!)
Love strikes! Well, yes… and yikes. As many pop songs crisply inform us, love hurts, but based on the evidence of Hitoshi Ohne’s romantic comedy, it’s worth the effort. Based on a hugely popular manga and TV series, this film became a massive hit in Japan and was selected as one of the Top Films of 2011 by The Japan Times, Kinema Jumpo, and Eiga Geijutsu. Totally unruly and packed with all the follies of love circa 2012, it strikes like a rip-roaring blast and satisfies all the requirements of the best comedy with its dazzling, overflowing energy.
Love Strikes! is the hopelessly endearing tale of Yukiyo Fujimoto (Mirai Moriyama), a diffident, back-of-the-classroom nowhere guy…thirtysomething, nerdy, weedy, otaku to the bone. His forced celibacy is the butt of all his colleagues’ jokes, so Yukiyo gives full vent to his self-pity via his Twitter feed, and hooks up with a fellow user who seems to share his geeky tastes in pop subculture and they arrange to meet for a night of beer and geeky male bonding. But who shows up is the shockingly cute Miyuki (Masami Nagasawa, who took home the 2012 Japanese Academy Award for “Best Supporting Actress” for this role). Yukiyo falls hard for the girl, but then he hits his moteki – a Japanese slang term referring to a period of unexplained but not unwelcome romantic popularity with the opposite sex. The nerd is suddenly the ultimate chick magnet for reasons no one understands.
The ensuing farrago of plunging, dithering, yearning, and near-farce, in which Yukiyo tumbles, are bounced into further, surreal territory by unabashedly exuberant karaoke video sequences, complete with sing-along lyrics and characters bursting into song and dance as if a spaceship had somehow dropped them in a Bollywood flick. You’ll leave the theater haunted by the dance scored to Perfume’s “Baby Cruising Love,” and by Nagasawa’s bewitching smile as she pretty much walks away with the picture.