A former child TV star’s hazardous return to acting blurs the lines between fiction and reality in tyro helmer Kentaro Moriya’s unevenly conceived “School Daze.” Music vid vet Moriya pulls out every one of his camera and editing tricks to jazz up the inherently funny if fairly obvious comedy in which the scenarios played out in front of the camera mirror what’s going on off the set. Solid December B.O. in Japan greeted the pic before its international dash through select fests, but ancillary biz will stay strictly local.
Thrust into stardom as a kid, Haruo (Mirai Moriyama) decides to retire in order to keep his stressed-out parents together. Years later, as a teen, Haruo is just another face, but wants to get back into a high school-based show. In a sometimes dazzling yet superficial string of events, Haruo sees that plotlines and his real life in school as the target of bullies get far too close for comfort. Moriya’s pic isn’t in the visual big leagues of topline Nippon features, but he displays a flair that carries much promise. Legendary helmer Seijun Suzuki appears in a clever cameo.