Friday, December 13, 2013

The Apology King Review Nothing To Apologize For, Still Could Be A Little Humble

Once again thanks to the LA EigaFest we finally got another crazy Japanese comedy that may never get state side release, The Apology King.

Before going further into the demented comedy I wanted to remind everyone about EigaFest being over three days (Dec 6-8) of films from Japan here on Hollywood. We got our fair share of special screenings, free screenings and special guests, all the girls love Crispin Freeman (anime). The event even held a tiny festival with booths on Saturday when the rain was pouring down. Sushi was served inside and everyone had a chance to see films you might only be able to download or stream for some time.

I congratulate the festival on another amazing year of showing films from Japan that are still hard to get over to American audiences. Hopefully, the festival will spread the word that these features can play along-side all the other films coming out in America.

Anime fans had two more chances to see the awful The Wind Rises by Hayao Miyazaki. They went and saw it just by his name, not realizing how boring it would be, a huge line outside Sunday was waiting when I attended the festival.

*The 2013 banner at EigaFest didn't need to be made, it made the festival look bad, frankly a banner made by children in art class with their finger painted hands spelling out the festival's name or something catchy would have been better. Compared to earlier in that weeks opening of Madoka Rebellion at the same location that banner looked so small.

The Apology King

The Apology King gives us the quirky genius of Sadwo Abe (Maiko Haaaan!!!) playing the creator and leader of the Apology Center Yuzuru Kuroshima. He's joined by the young and beautiful Mao Inoue, playing Noriko Kuramoch as his apprentice and first case . There is no Apology Center really, just a cafe/diner where Kuroshima conducts his meetings. A quirky Japanese commercial that starts the film has Kuroshima selling a way out of legal battles and bad press by apologizing. Not only in the standard Japanese way of the "dogeza",  ceremonial bowing, but a mention of a super secret way of apologizing. Nobuo Mizuta directs the absurd comedy with an almost detective style flair. A case file and a break down of whose involved and why they need to apologize to start of each segment.  Later all the cases tie together, what may have been missed fits  together other than a music video ending.

Apology King starts of "low" with Noriko get in trouble with her poor driving skills and the Yakuza. Step in our comedic Apology Center creator Kuroshima. He saves her from a life of prostitution to payback the Yakuza with subtle moments of helping the Yakuza out. Kuroshima and Noriko takes us through how to solve the many problems of their clients hat include apologizing for sexual harassment at lingerie company with a perverted fool to LA's own favorite of celebrities apologizing, this time for the actions of their son, while still trying to sell tickets to their performances. The apologizes scale gets to the high point when a crisis over cotton that requires an apology by the Japanese Prime minister to a foreign country needs to be the one beyond the "dogeza".

Case by case were introduced to new characters and new plots that Kuroshima must solve, each intersects to create an overall plot. Flashbacks occur with new reveals of the story that is tangles within itself.

The jokes come at the expense at how dumb, perverted and self-absorbed those who are at fault got themselves into their problems. Each of these problem makers must be saved in a silly and convoluted way by our Apology King. Deep down our Apology King became this way out of seeking his own unattainable apology over a simple mistake at a ramen shop. Heart-breaking, not really. There are some deeper apologies in the movie that are more than just jokes like a lessons learned story.

Apology King's cast all leave you with a smile for their different roles. An annoying apprentice, perverted office-worker, corrupt politician and my favorite a translator who adds the probable price of gifts being received demonstrate  odd numbers of people you might never want to deal with, but can put up with as they're only on film.

The Apology King can be slow, it's pace getting to certain scenes is just too long. The last joke gets screeched into your brain, repeated and repeated. A thousand times you'll get it.

The jokes are there, but it's not the highest level of hysterics. You'll chuckle through more at the oddity of some scenes and the reactions of some of the characters.

Apology King's characters and interlaced story simply make it a comedy you could watch, but don't need to. It's eccentric and wierd, just not as memorable as stranger films from Japan.

*The added ending of  a Japanese music video with some words by Abe and bad Engrish rap made me think Japanese film is still stuck in the early 90's. A new case pops up to reveal a girl band singing and dancing in the diner and apology center. It makes the film a WTF Japan film more that anything else from suicide train ghosts to Abe's awful bowel haircut.What the Hell was that music video about at the end? Imagining pulling out someone from their car right now and asking them that, that's the level of annoyance with the ending here.