Fuku-Chan of Fuku-Fuku Flats / 福福荘の福ちゃん / Fukubuku no Bukuchan (2013)
Director: Yosuke Fujita
Screenplay: Yosuke Fujita
Cast: Miyuki Oshima, Asami Mizukawa, YosiYosi Arasawa
Note: This film will screen on August 3
This is another comedy drama that focuses on oddball or more marginalized characters, a type of film, which Japan seems to have excelled at in recent years. The story is about Fuku-Chan, a 32 year old chubby and unattractive male (played convincingly by Miyuki Oshima, a female comedienne no less) who is visited by a woman, Chiho, who apologizes for a past wrong that she inflicted on Fuku-Chan when they were schoolmates. Chiho having quit her job to pursue photography is inspired by Fuku-Chan and convinces him to allow her to take pictures of him. Thus a friendship is formed but it also awakens potentially romantic feelings in Fuku-Chan who has refused to even entertain the idea of dating a woman all his life.
Although I like these slice of life stories about average people with a bit of quirkiness, I found Fuku-Chan doesn’t really have any growth as a character. He’s really just the archetypical unattractive person with a good heart and the purpose of the film seems to be to show what a good guy he is. Chiho on the other hand surprisingly ends up being more interesting in that she does go through changes and one of Fuku’s friends questions Chiho’s intentions and wonders if she may be leading on Fuku a bit. It’s a question that could’ve been explored much more but is dropped pretty quickly. At least, we get a bit more insight into how Chiho feels but Fuku remains opaque. Other than one recurring moment, we don’t get any real insight into what Fuku thinks of this newfound friendship with Chiho.
Rounding out the rest of the main plot are also Fuku’s quirky friends who like Fuku suffer from loneliness. They provide some comic relief but are otherwise unremarkable. Overall, the film offers some decent laughs and a somewhat poignant tale. It’s not a must-watch by any means and ends up being too light and inconsequential. The film seems to end when things should be interesting. To contrast my opinion though, pretty much every other review I’ve seen online praises this film highly so if you find the premise interesting, it’s worth taking a risk on to watch, regardless of my own opinions on the film.