A zesty romantic comedy about a glam career woman who finds true love as a bicycle courier, “Messengers” is a brightly limned package that’s as smart as its heroine’s Lycra shorts. Decked out with engaging characters and attractive leads, pic is a reel too long but good audience-pleasing fare nonetheless.
Well-known model Naoko Iijima toplines as champagne-quaffing Naomi, who, while fleeing bankruptcy in her Alpha Romeo, knocks over a biker (Hiroyuki Yabe) and abjectly takes his place in the small-time delivery service, Tokyo Express, which he runs with his partner, Suzuki (Tsuyoshi Kusanagi, from popular TV group SMAP). After a klutzy start — played with gallant humor by Iijima — Naomi decides to stay with the company and save face with her double-dealing ex-b.f. (Tetsuya Bessho) by grabbing his employers’ courier account from a bigger, more aggressive firm. Pic ping-pongs between off-bike character scenes and elaborate sequences in which the two competing bike firms speed through the streets of Tokyo, using various dirty tricks. Final race, at almost 20 minutes, is a mite overstretched, but pic’s good-naturedness is infectious, with helmer Yasuo Baba pushing all the right buttons.