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Ski Jumping Pairs: Road to Torino 2006

Good-natured laughs are given a sporting chance in slight but fun Japanese mockumentary, "Ski Jumping Pairs: Road to Torino 2006." This embellishment of a CG short by co-director/scripter Riichiro Mashima strains at being fleshed out to feature length, but yucks do snowball as the film progresses.

Cast:
With: Shingo Takahashi, Kazuhiro Mashiko, Tomoyuki Mashiko, Benjamin Gross. Narrator: Issei Masamune.

Good-natured laughs are given a sporting chance in slight but fun Japanese mockumentary, “Ski Jumping Pairs: Road to Torino 2006.” This embellishment of a CG short by co-director/scripter Riichiro Mashima strains at being fleshed out to feature length, but yucks do snowball as the film progresses. Pic received a limited release in Japan last January prior to February’s Torino Winter Olympics. Though topicality has passed, this mildly amusing effort could still find berths at Asian-themed fests.

After experiments with freezing conditions and aerodynamics inadvertently clone mice, Dr. Harada (Shingo Takahashi) seeks to duplicate the process with his twin sons by training them to ski jump on a single shared ski. Concept barely makes sense, but faux docu about the Harada boys and their lives as the forerunners of tandem ski jumping provides chuckles. Pic hits its stride when the sport is, after melodramatic controversy, embraced by the Olympic Committee. Utilizing computer graphics instead of thesps to represent the international athletes, competitors are shown performing ludicrous and impossible formations in pursuit of gold medals. Helming and perfs are secondary to the central premise. Computer animation is somewhat rudimentary, but delivers.

Ski Jumping Pairs: Road to Torino 2006

Japan

Production: A TV Man Union production. (International sales: Avex Entertainment, Tokyo.) Produced by Genki Kawamura, Mariko Nakajima, Maiko Yahata. Executive producers, Hideki Kama, Masahito Kokuta. Directed by Masaki Kobayashi, Riichiro Mashima. Screenplay, Mashima, inspired by his animated short, "Ski Jumping Pairs."

Crew: Camera (color), Makoto Yoshida; editor, Masaki Kobayashi; music, Dan Miyagawa; art director, Michio Hirahara. Reviewed at Jeonju Film Festival, South Korea, April 28, 2006. Japanese, English, German dialogue. Running time: 81 MIN.

With: With: Shingo Takahashi, Kazuhiro Mashiko, Tomoyuki Mashiko, Benjamin Gross. Narrator: Issei Masamune.

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