15 May 2011 | MyFilmHabit
Every Family's Got One
The basic story line in this film is pretty straightforward. But it contains enough crazy jokes and visual gags that it doesn't seem overly simple. I'm pretty sure this movie is about the universal theme of: that one creepy uncle that everyone seems to have. He's usually a little pervy. He's a burden on the rest of the family, asking for all kinds of special favors—mostly because he never seems to be very firmly employed. And, Hajime (or Jimmy, as he likes to be called now that he's living in America) is rocking all of these personality traits. He's currently living with big-sis (sharing a bunk bed in her little son's bedroom, to be exact). She took him in because she saw that after his divorce, her little brother couldn't quite manage to keep himself reliably fed and sheltered. To make matters even more complicated, now Jimmy has taken to ogling his brother-in-law's attractive college-aged niece, Ramona. And he's not subtle with his affections either—busting into her bedroom, reading her diary, and loitering outside her college classes. (Hey, it's not gross if they're not related by blood, right?) What a gem. But his little, genius nephew, Bob, is there to make sure Jimmy doesn't get into too much trouble.
This crazy guy has been trying his luck on the dating scene, but has had little success. Somehow, the ladies seem able to resist the charms of this prize of a man. Although, as far as creepy uncles go, Jimmy's not actually all that threatening. He doesn't mean any harm. He's mostly just mind-blowingly dense. This isn't just your everyday, run-of-the-mill dysfunction. It's bang-your-head-against-the-wall, Jesus-face-palm level failure. You'd like to be able to write of Jimmy's antics as merely cultural misunderstanding (he's a new arrival from Japan). But, I think that'd be a little insulting to all the other recent immigrants out there. I mean, big-sis and brother-in-law are also relatively recent transplants, yet they manage to hold things together pretty well.
The overall tone of this film is goofy. The synopsis may make the story sound a little creepy and stalkerish, but I assure you that it's a straight-up comedy. Just when you think Hajime has finally outdone himself, he goes and finds an even more outrageous way to make a fool of himself (and thoroughly embarrass everyone within ear-shot). That's a special talent. His family keeps trying to help him get back on his feet (and out of their home), but he keeps finding even more spectacular ways of screwing everything up. But it's not too painful or cringe-worthy to watch. Ultimately, Jimmy is lovable, so we can understand why everyone just wants to help him out. He's got to get it right one of these days, right?