Another dysfunctional family movie from Japan, more radical than Morita's seminal Family Game but a deal less provocative than Miike's Visitor Q. The Akechi family is falling apart behind a facade of normalcy: dad (Hiraizumi) was fired from his job ages ago, but hasn't told the others and has built up huge debts; mum (Otani) has had enough of caring for her senile father-in-law and suddenly decides to let him die; daughter (Tsumiki) is planning to marry and oblivious to the can of worms around her. The one success in the family is the black sheep son Shuji (comedian Miyasako, making an impressive debut in film), a skilful con-man who poses as a mourner at funerals and makes off with the donations. When he shows up at grandpa's funeral and rejoins the family, will he rescue it or finish it off for good? First time director Nishikawa does well with her cast and knows how to orchestrate family tensions; the somewhat crude suspense of the closing scenes is her only real misjudgment. Kore-eda produced because she was his assistant on After Life and Distance.
Cast and crew