You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Slapstick Brothers

The ostensibly separate worlds of street crime and standup comedy intertwine in Hiroshi Shinagawa's engaging sophomore effort, "Slapstick Brothers."

With:
With: Ryuta Sato, Yusuke Kamiji, Satomi Ishihara, Yuji Ayabe, Daisuke Miyagawa, Hirofumi Arai, Seiki Nagahara, Ryuji Akiyama, Takashi Sasano, Miyuki Oshima.

The ostensibly separate worlds of street crime and standup comedy intertwine in Hiroshi Shinagawa’s engaging sophomore effort, “Slapstick Brothers.” Following his hit adaptation of his own manga smash “Drop,” author-comedian-cum-helmer Shinagawa builds on his first film’s young-gangland milieu but adds a selfish comedian who won’t grow up. Funnier for Japanese auds than for subtitle readers, pic nevertheless has an appealing wit, garnished with a mature wisdom. Although no headliner, “Slapstick Brothers” was a steady local performer last March, earning a respectable $8.7 million. Its audience-award win at Korea’s PiFan fest suggests opportunities for wider pan-Asian success.

Standup comedian Tobio (Ryuta Sato) learns that his partner, Tamotsu (Yuji Ayabe), is walking out of their double act after 10 years. Going on a drunken spree, Tobio awakens next morning in a prison cell with dreadlocked, tattooed, smart-mouthed young hoodlum Ryuhei (Yusuke Kamiji). Always the opportunist, straightlaced Tobio recognizes Ryuhei’s aggressive — and funny — street talk is a perfect fit for the jousting Japanese comedy style known as “manzai.” Though more comfortable working with his fists than his mouth, Ryuhei agrees to become trained as a comic.

On the outside, Ryuhei’s gangland nemesis Shirokawa (Hirofumi Arai) won’t let the fledgling comedian walk away without settling a few scores first. At the same time, Tobio discovers that training an amateur — particularly one as volatile as his new charge — is not always a laughing matter.

Shinagawa’s script skillfully weaves together the comic and the criminal, displaying a convincing familiarity with both worlds. The helmer maintains a firm hand, always honoring his story and avoiding the common J-comedy pitfall of unraveling into chaos in the final reels. Fight scenes, orchestrated by Yuta Morokaji, have a dynamic edge, while the helmer balances the comedic and dramatic scenes so that neither side is a drag on the narrative rhythms.

Kamiji is sympathetic and forceful as the punk ready to leave the violence of the near-pointless turf wars. In a more realistic vein, Sato is likewise proficient with the somewhat tougher role of a man confronted with less spectacular personal shortcomings. Embodying the pic’s mix of comedy and crime, Daisuke Miyagawa is droll as the jaded yakuza supportive of Ryuhei’s career change.

Tech credits are solid.

Slapstick Brothers

Japan

Production: A Kadokawa Pictures production. (International sales: Kadokawa Pictures, Tokyo.) Produced by Shigeo Minakami. Directed, written by Hiroshi Shinagawa.

Crew: Camera (color, HD), Nobuyasu Kita; editor, Hiroshi Sunaga; music, Toru Wada; art director, Naoki Soma; sound (Dolby Digital), Hiroshi Tsurumaki; action director, Yuta Morokaji. Reviewed on DVD, Bucheon, South Korea, July 17, 2011. (In PiFan Film Festival -- Puchon Choice, competing.) Running time: 137 MIN.

With: With: Ryuta Sato, Yusuke Kamiji, Satomi Ishihara, Yuji Ayabe, Daisuke Miyagawa, Hirofumi Arai, Seiki Nagahara, Ryuji Akiyama, Takashi Sasano, Miyuki Oshima.

More Film

  • 'Icarus' Returning to Theaters After Russia

    'Icarus' Returning to Theaters Following Russia Olympics Ban (EXCLUSIVE)

    The ostensibly separate worlds of street crime and standup comedy intertwine in Hiroshi Shinagawa’s engaging sophomore effort, “Slapstick Brothers.” Following his hit adaptation of his own manga smash “Drop,” author-comedian-cum-helmer Shinagawa builds on his first film’s young-gangland milieu but adds a selfish comedian who won’t grow up. Funnier for Japanese auds than for subtitle readers, […]

  • Palm Springs Film Festival Programming Honchos

    Brains Behind Palm Springs Festival Programming Grilled

    The ostensibly separate worlds of street crime and standup comedy intertwine in Hiroshi Shinagawa’s engaging sophomore effort, “Slapstick Brothers.” Following his hit adaptation of his own manga smash “Drop,” author-comedian-cum-helmer Shinagawa builds on his first film’s young-gangland milieu but adds a selfish comedian who won’t grow up. Funnier for Japanese auds than for subtitle readers, […]

  • Baby Driver Wonder Woman Get OUt

    10 Best Uses of Music in Movies in 2017

    The ostensibly separate worlds of street crime and standup comedy intertwine in Hiroshi Shinagawa’s engaging sophomore effort, “Slapstick Brothers.” Following his hit adaptation of his own manga smash “Drop,” author-comedian-cum-helmer Shinagawa builds on his first film’s young-gangland milieu but adds a selfish comedian who won’t grow up. Funnier for Japanese auds than for subtitle readers, […]

  • Palm Springs Film Festival Spotlights Awards

    Palm Springs Fest Encourages Awards Season Binge Watching

    The ostensibly separate worlds of street crime and standup comedy intertwine in Hiroshi Shinagawa’s engaging sophomore effort, “Slapstick Brothers.” Following his hit adaptation of his own manga smash “Drop,” author-comedian-cum-helmer Shinagawa builds on his first film’s young-gangland milieu but adds a selfish comedian who won’t grow up. Funnier for Japanese auds than for subtitle readers, […]

  • Peter Jackson Harvey Weinstein

    Ashley Judd, Mira Sorvino Respond to Peter Jackson's Claims That Weinstein Blacklisted Them

    The ostensibly separate worlds of street crime and standup comedy intertwine in Hiroshi Shinagawa’s engaging sophomore effort, “Slapstick Brothers.” Following his hit adaptation of his own manga smash “Drop,” author-comedian-cum-helmer Shinagawa builds on his first film’s young-gangland milieu but adds a selfish comedian who won’t grow up. Funnier for Japanese auds than for subtitle readers, […]

  • 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' Box

    'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' Rockets to $60.8 Million in Early International Openings

    The ostensibly separate worlds of street crime and standup comedy intertwine in Hiroshi Shinagawa’s engaging sophomore effort, “Slapstick Brothers.” Following his hit adaptation of his own manga smash “Drop,” author-comedian-cum-helmer Shinagawa builds on his first film’s young-gangland milieu but adds a selfish comedian who won’t grow up. Funnier for Japanese auds than for subtitle readers, […]

  • Bey Logan's Run as Harvey Weinstein's

    Bey Logan's Run as Harvey Weinstein's Point Man in Asia

    The ostensibly separate worlds of street crime and standup comedy intertwine in Hiroshi Shinagawa’s engaging sophomore effort, “Slapstick Brothers.” Following his hit adaptation of his own manga smash “Drop,” author-comedian-cum-helmer Shinagawa builds on his first film’s young-gangland milieu but adds a selfish comedian who won’t grow up. Funnier for Japanese auds than for subtitle readers, […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content