Japanese films about females in their forties or older are rare, as are movies directed by women. In the present piece, both protagonists are women over 40 and the director is an actress who has taken her place behind the camera. Unfortunately, the results don’t differ much from the standard Japanese melodramatic fare.

Tetsuko (Yo Yoshida) has had a bugaboo about her cousin Natsuko (Yoshino Kimura) since they were kids, and the latter destroyed her favorite dress out of spite. As adults, Tetsuko is a serious, stern, and unemotional workhorse lawyer, while Natsuko is a brassy, irresponsible shyster who regularly gets into trouble. Natsuko gets a good job and marries, but her dry personality leads to divorce and a life of work only. One day, the cousin tracks her down because she needs a legal defense against a romantic interest she tried to hustle. Tetsuko reluctantly takes the case, but after she wins, the irresponsible client disappears again, sans fees for her representation.

What starts out as an intriguing premise soon devolves into Natsuko continually begging for legal help in cases where she has clearly swindled people. Pathetic fights between the two lead to an absurd climax where the pair crashes a wedding to humiliate a crook, who cheated people with Natsuko.

One would like to say something complimentary about the development in this flick, but the story plummets to such ridiculous depths, it’s hard to. Skip it. (Japanese title: Iya na Onna; 105 min.)