An Upbeat Look At Life: Quirky Guys And Gals

An Upbeat Look At Life: Quirky Guys And Gals

Static Mass Rating: 3/5
Third Window Films

Release date: October 3rd, 2011
Certificate (UK): 12
Running time: 91 minutes

Country of origin: Japan
Original language: Japanese with English subtitles

Directors: Yosuke Fujita, Gen Sekiguchi, Mipo O, Tomoko Matsunashi
Writers: Yosuke Fujita, Gen Sekiguchi, Mipo O, Tomoko Matsunashi
Composers: Taichi Asahi, Kenichiro Suehiro

Cast: Kyoko Koizumi, YosiYosi Arakawa, Tomochika, Aoi Nakamura, Tenkyu Fukuda, Misako Renbutsu, Tetsuji Tanaka, Nanami Sakuraba

Made up from four short films, Quirky Guys and Gals is a film about trying to ignite that missing spark, to find a meaning in your day-to-day life that can help you brush yourself off and keep on trying.

In the first short, Yosuke Fujita presents Cheer Girls, where three university students cheerlead not for the sports teams, but for the little guys trying to tie their shoelaces, or get a tight lid off a jar of jam. But should you always adhere to cheer for what people wish they could achieve?

Quirky Guys and Gals

The second film, Boy? Meets Girl by Tomoko Matsunashi is a Tootsie (1982) – style remake where a shy high school boy disguises himself as a girl so he can model for his photographer crush.

In Claim Night, directed by Mipo O, a woman returns home to find her electricty has been switched off. After making a series of complaints, the manager of the customer service centre comes around to her house, where hilarity and misunderstandings ensue.

And finally, Gen Sekiguchi gives us The House Full of Abandoned Businessmen, where a woman takes in unemployed businessmen during the day so they can keep hiding the lie from their own wives, avoiding the tell-tale suntan from sitting in the park all day.

Quirky Guys and Gals

Quirky Guys and Gals is relentlessly positive, the feel-good scripts overcoming obstacles and difficulties with bright colours, chirpy music and a giant smile.

All of the characters are quirky as the title suggests, whether they express this through housing stray men during the day, or crossdressing to get close to get close to a crush. The idiosyncrasies are harmless too, not crossing over into too weird, so it’s very easy to laugh along with the shorts. As the characters accept their quirks, so does the audience. Despite everything, the world will turn out just fine, leaving the audience with a loopy sense of bliss and ready to go with the flow.

The scripts are written to be entirely independent from each other, not relying on each other for plot or character development, instead tied together thematically and stylistically.

Quirky Guys and Gals

The colours are bright and saturated, the acting often hammy and the music cheesy. It comes off as being a big soap-opera at times, but this adds to it’s idiosyncratic charm. Everything is exaggerated, from the huge portions of food in Cheer Girls, to the feline movements of the men in The House, to the behaviour of the two leads in Claim Night.

On the whole, the performances were strong, although nothing particularly demanding was asked of any of the actors. Chiharu (Sakuraba) from Cheer Girls often seems dead behind the eyes, which does not lend itself to the enthusiastic dancer that she portrays, and this did affect the short somewhat, but not enough to spoil it.

I really enjoyed Tomochika as Mayuko in Claim Night listing off the food in her fridge which has spoiled due to the lack of power, and as their mutual politeness peels away over pork shabu shabu, her facial expressions grow more and more animated, and her acting becomes more physical, to humorous affect.


  • Exclusive interviews from all 4 directors (12:00)
  • Special messages from all 4 directors (20:00)
  • 16 Trailers of other Third Window releases

Kyoko Koizumi was sweet in The House, simply trying to fill Mayumi’s empty house with some kind of life. She has no children and had to leave her 22 stray cats behind when she and her husband moved house, and Koizumi makes the transition from cats to men seem relatively logical. The men too, sit around the house like cats, their movements feline as they wait to be fed, and pack-like when the home in on an errant cockroach.

Quirky Guys and Gals

Aoi Nakamura plays Konosuke and his female alter-ego Miyu convincingly, employing different behavioural tics and movement styles for each of his characters and making them into separate people.

Quirky Guys and Girls is as if an American ensemble piece has drunk far too much coffee, and is all the better for it. It takes an exaggerated look at the lives of irregular people living in down the street, and exudes a feel-good energy that will leave you grinning for the rest of the day. It’s a film that embraces the tics that make people strange and unique, and celebrates them too.

Quirky Guys and Gals isn’t going to change the world, but it will make a more cheery place.

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