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OFF Review: Happy Ending

January 30, 2010

By Melody Watson

Momoko is the glasses-wearing, hipster girl who loves “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” and hates all things cheesy and romantic.  Until one morning some washing machine looking thing falls from the sky, and she magically finds herself living in her own private romantic comedy.

“Happy Ending” follows the formula of its American counterparts but adds a whimsical Japanese twist. Atsuhiro Yamada, the director, lovingly adds all the best rom com clichés; girl with glasses in need of a make-over, best friend who secretly loves her for who she really is, sad scene in the rain, the hot guy is a vapid, philandering douche, etc, etc.  They’re all there; only you’re not really sure just how much Yamada will deviate from the formula so it feels new and different.

It was fun to try to figure out which particular American movies have influenced the director’s shots and cinematic style.  I’d put my money on “Clerks,” “High Fidelity,” “Some Kind of Wonderful,” “She’s All That,” and “Reality Bites” but pretty much every romantic comedy in the history of ever is his inspiration.

“Happy Ending” is already critically acclaimed and can boast a number of festival wins.  It was filmed in Japan and has subtitles. The film plays at the Oxford Film Festival on Friday, Feb. 5 at noon and Feb. 7 at 3 p.m.

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