In Japanese with English & Chinese Subtitles
Tsukaji, Shosuke Tanihara, Keiko Kitagawa
RunTime: 1 hr 56 mins
Released By: Encore Films & GV
Official Website: http://www.encorefilms.com/handsome-suit
Opening Day: 9 April 2009
Takuro Oki (Tsukaji Muga) is the chef and owner of a diner
"Kokoroya", which is very popular in the neighbourhood.
Because he is awkward and ugly in appearance, he has no luck
with women. He falls in love with Hiroko (Kitagawa Keiko),
a part-time helper in his diner but she rejects him. Heart-broken,
Takuro goes shopping and is introduced to the 'Handsome Suit'.
This is a magical suit that transforms its wearer to become
incredibly good-looking and suave.
the new Takuro win the heart of Hiroko now with the help of
this magical suit?
As a comedy that deals with the fantasy of “sudden weight lost”, Handsome Suit is utterly winsome with it’s comedic elements and timing. It might be a little predictable and formulaic but it a whole lot of fun and entertainment about one man’s struggle against being fat, ugly and despised.
The reason why this comedy film is so captivating was largely due to the fact that Handsome Suit managed to excel in capturing the essence of a Manga (Japanese Comics) comedy. It’s achieved that feat with it’s impeccable comedic timing and comedic presence. One of the most notable moments that highlight the comedic timing was when a customer absently mindedly mentioned that Takuro is only short of a girlfriend to be truly happy. A sad fact that had troubled the protagonist as his “ugliness” had been turning women away for the longest time and it caused a 180 degree change in his mood and the atmosphere in the dinner. The manner and timing that animation was used to animate that “awkward” moment was a hilarious moment that usually found in manga or anime.
The comedic presence factors relied heavily on the two main characters of this movie, the protagonist Takuro (played by Muga Tsukaji) and his “Handsome Suit” alter ego, Annin (played by Shosuke Tanihara). Both characters are well contrasted and yet they still feel like the same lovable loser character underneath it all. The roly-poly Muga Tsukaji did well to portray his “ugliness” that it’s easy to understand why girls are fleeing from him. However he was extremely proficient in endearing himself to the audience and it made it so much easier to buy the fantasy that someone (belonging to the opposite gender) would be ever attracted to his externally ugly character.
Shosuke Tanihara on the other hand had the unenviable task of convincing the audience as a truly good looking guy. As viewpoints varies from one to another, the standard for handsome varies too but Shosuke Tanihara was able to turn in a convincing charming performance as the guy that has women swooning all over and yet retain that fumbling mannerism of a fat ugly desperate guy.
This film is also filled with vibrant colorful and wildly different characters that seemly popped out from a comic book. In the rein of classic such as Amelie and Citizen Dog, this film is filled with numerous supporting characters and almost all the supporting characters are distinctive enough to memorable mark even in their short screen time.
There were plenty top notch comedy elements in Handsome Suit and new gag keep coming with one right after another without overstuffing or recycling the same type of jokes to the audience.
In the mist of the comedic riot, Handsome Suit also had a lot of endearing moments. It showcases how a heart of gold could shine through the layer of external ugliness. It even poised the question that sometimes in our desperateness, do we actually know the reason for wanting something. It also exemplifies nothing good will ever comes to a life that’s spent hating oneself. There were other inspiring quotes but I will leave you to find out for yourself. In short, Handsome Suit is not only a very funny film but one that actually touches on the appearance issue and handled it with such finesse.
In closing, I like to point out a pertaining event that occurs after the film. While chatting about this film with my friend Stefan, he pointed out a review from one of the big time player movie magazine from the states. In the ending bits of the summarized review portion, it mentions that with some amendments to the Japanese eccentricity elements, this move would have good remake prospective.
Besides feeling like an irate purist Asian Films fan who scorned at that offensive, disrespectful and financial greedy comment, I felt that reviewer had missed the point about this movie.
(The next paragraph might get a little spoilish here so scroll over if necessary)
It’s about being yourself and not changing oneself to cater or adapt to the market demand (be it that it’s a bigger and more profitable market). Handsome Suit is a wonderfully made film that’s all about accepting the faults and opening the eyes to see uniqueness of each individual.
(Barrel Full of Fun and Heart)
Review by Richard Lim Jr