Takeshi Kitano is one of the best-known Japanese directors, and with good reason. Movies such as Violent Cop, Brother, and Dolls have made him a sure-fire pleaser for fans of this genre of violent fare. So you think that they'd be safe with Getting Any?, wouldn't you?
I'll let you in on a secret. If you believe the above, then you're not Japanese.
In his native country, Kitano is much better known for his comedy, and this is the first of his comedy movies that I've ever seen. And whilst the idea of a Japanese slapstick comedy movie isn't usually top of my list, this one was surprisingly funny.
The plot is simple. Dankan plays Asao, a dull, slow-witted man whose fantasy life is much richer than his actual life. He is convinced that the route to happiness lies in a single direction - getting laid. In a car, in an aircraft, it really doesn't matter. And so he determines to achieve this goal. As an actor, as a hitman, as a drugs-dealer, as a bank-robber, there's really nothing that Asao won't try in order to get laid.
Whilst the movie definately slows down in the second half, it's still funny. It's just that it starts off at such a frenetic pace that it would be impossible to expect so many laughs all the way through. There are still highlights - I'm never asking for in-flight service again, I can tell you - and overall, it a big surprise, but a welcome one. And the more aware you are of Japanese movie and pop culture, the more you'll get from the flick.
Does Asao get any in the end? Well, that'd be telling, wouldn't it?
Japanese director/actor/writer/comedian and one of the best-known entertainers in Japan. Entered showbiz in the early 70s as a stand-up comic, and began acting in the early 80s, his most famous early role being in Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence. As a director, Kitano's debut was 1989's Violent Cop, a gritty police thriller.The success of this led Kitano to explore similar cop/gangster territory in films like Boiling Point, Sonatine and the award-winning Hana-bi, all of which combined graphic violence, intense drama and off-beat comedy, while Kitano's more light-hearted side was revealed in the likes of the sex comedy Getting Any?, the autobiographical Kids Return and the whimsical Kikujiro.
If 2000's US-set Brother was a disappointment and Dolls visually stunning but hard-going, 2003's Zatoichi was a fast-moving, blood-splattered samurai romp. After a run of personal, financially unsuccessful art films, he returned to familiar territory with the Outrage series. As an actor, Kitano (credited as 'Beat' Takeshi, his comedy-persona) has appeared in films including Battle Royale, Gonin, Johnny Mnemonic, Gohatto and Takashi Miike's Izô.