This is the lightly screwball tale of how young Sawako (sympathetically played by impish Hikari Mitsushima) blows her gasket. Taking a menial job at her dying father’s provincial clam-packing concern, she surrounds herself with losers, idiots and bullies, and the decision of the title refers to when and how she is going to grow a spine and vanquish her various tormentors. Yuya Ishii’s colourful, leisurely paced comic drama lays the suffering on thick with the intention of making Sawako’s eventual breakdown all the more entertaining. But the sloppy, grotesque characterisations of the supporting cast keep any dramatic credibility in check. The humour is more bedpan than deadpan, which dashes any moves towards psychological sincerity. It has its moments, such as an hilarious, impromptu, anti-government worker chant. And Ishii is successful in adopting the cutesy style and exacting compositions of similar American indie comedies. But these are small victories in a film which, as a whole, struggles to express its intentions.
Friday July 8 2011
Cast and crew