Originally published on metropolis.co.jp on August 2011

© 2011「行け!男子高校演劇部」製作委員会

Japan has a very specific genre of film drama set in high schools, and while this flick takes place in one, it does not fall into that melodramatic category. Rather, it’s of the new type of comedy, promulgated by writer/director KankuroKudo, and others, which is absurdist and thoroughly over-the-top. Characters regularly scream at the top of their lungs, run around naked, or do whatever else that can be seen as “so crazy it’s funny.” The genus is not for everybody, but it does have some rib-tickling moments. In this one, Genki (Aoi Nakamura) is a new kid in an all-boys high school and at the beginning of the year he’s wondering what club to join. Suddenly, he spots his “Juliet” doing a production of the Shakespeare play, and is in love. By the time he figures out it’s a boy in drag, he’s been signed up for the drama club, made its chief and put in charge of recruiting three more members so the club is not forcibly closed by the school. The film follows the misfits he pulls into the club and their ridiculous productions, while Genki ultimately falls in love with a real female Juliet from the nearby girls’ school. Though completely silly, and immature enough to make the Three Stooges look adult, the piece has some amusing vignettes and hilarious moments. This wacky diversion could be used to cheer up the depressed. (86 min)