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Published by David Carter on 2010/12/18 (4930 reads)
Directed by “Mr. Pink” Yutaka Ikejima
Review by David Carter

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Released by Pink Eiga
Running Time: 62 minutes
Rating: Not Rated
Color format: Color
Audio/Subtitles: 2.0 Stereo Japanese/English Subtitles
Region Code: 1, NTSC
Aspect Ratio: Widescreen Letterbox
16:9 Enhanced: No
Special Features: Still galleries, biographies & filmographies, interviews with director, star, and composer
Trailer Online: Yes

Open in new windowShort Version: More wedded bliss from Pink Eiga

THE JAPANESE WIFE NEXT DOOR PART 2 is based on one of the more clever premises for a sequel that I’ve come across. Those of you who saw PART 1 will remember that our nebbish protagonist Takashi found himself in the enviable and unlikely position of having to choose between two beautiful women, Sakura and Ryoko. He chose Sakura, and her nymphomania soon spread to the other members of Takashi’s family, much to his chagrin. Believing that he had made the wrong choice, Takashi imagined that his life would have been much easier with Ryoko. PART 2 takes us back to the moment of that pivotal decision and follows Takashi’s life had he married Ryoko instead.

Open in new windowThe film begins with a recreation of the events of its predecessor but the remainder of the plot is an inversion of PART 1. Instead of his new wife moving in with his family, Takashi moves in with his very wealthy and eccentric in-laws. His new father-in-law has a much younger third wife, Masumi, who is the first member of his new family to begin acting strangely to Takashi. She practically forces him to sign a two million dollar life insurance policy, and then insists that his mother do the same. He dismisses this as kindness but isn’t able to do the same for the bizarre behavior exhibited by Mina, Ryoko’s sister. Mina acts like a young girl and believes that Leonardo DiCaprio is her boyfriend, a quirk that has some interesting results when she begins to believe that Takashi is the famous actor. Eventually Takashi even grows suspicious of his own wife and soon finds proof that he shouldn’t just be concerned about her faithfulness, but about his own safety as well.

In keeping with the pattern established by PART 1 (and the scores of pink films that came before it), THE JAPANESE WIFE NEXT DOOR PART 2 is mostly sex scenes with a few brief attempts at plot between them. The primary difference between PART 1 and this sequel is that the original’s non-sex scenes were more farcical, whereas PART 2 is just odd. Things are amusing, but there aren’t the laugh out loud moments offered by the first and none of the cast display the same level of comic ability shown by PART 1’s star, Reiko Yamaguchi. In fact, PART 2’s female lead, Akane Yazaki isn’t even in the film very much at all and does little of note – apart from disrobing, of course – when she is featured. So small is her role that she’s not even on the cover of Pink Eiga’s DVD, the actress playing Mina is.

Open in new windowTakashi was absent from the majority of PART 1 but he is made the main character in PART 2. He is utilized in much the same way, however, simply serving as the straight man for the rest of the cast. This means that his duties primarily consist of standing around slack-jawed and bug-eyed as his new father-in-law explains the harmful radiation emitted by crows or something similar. The audience will most likely not care too much for Takashi and therefore be relieved rather than upset when it is revealed that his in-laws have nefarious plans in mind for him.

Pink Eiga’s DVD of the film is pristine and loaded with extras. One extra shows that even they agree that PART 1 is superior to the sequel: PART 1 star Yamaguchi is interviewed rather than Yazaki. While perhaps not as enjoyable as its predecessor, THE JAPANESE WIFE NEXT DOOR PART 2 has a handful of funny moments to keep you entertained and pushes more boundaries in the sex department as well, which may appeal to some of you out there. The film is an interesting companion to PART 1 but is less enjoyable as a stand-alone work.
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