Shifting from screwball comedy to tender familial drama, Japanese indie “G’mor evian!” proves irresistible. Director Toru Yamamoto displays palpable affection for his three main characters: an emotionally fragile 15-year-old girl (Ayaka Miyoshi); her recovering punk rocker mom, Aki (Kumiko Aso); and Aki’s goofball b.f. and former bandmate Yagu (Yo Oizumi), who, after years of slacking abroad, returns to Tokyo with hopes of reconstituting the trio’s nutty family dynamic. Dressing like a punk Arabian princess, Oizumi’s flamboyantly hyper Yagu may be a creation too distinctly Japanese for the pic to travel far beyond its Nipponese release at year’s end.
When Yagu comes literally bouncing back into her life, guzzling gallons of beer and offering to whip up his quirky curry, ninth-grader Hatsuki isn’t sure whether to find her surrogate dad charming or overbearing or both, an uncertainty that might well be shared by some viewers. In the film’s first half, Yagu’s wacky ways seem at odds with Hatsuki’s need to mature, but love and acceptance are hard to ignore.