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  Japanese Wife Next Door Non-stop nookie
Year: 2004
Director: Yutaka Ikejima
Stars: Reiko Yamaguchi, Kaoru Akitsu, Naohiro Hirakawa, Koji Makimura, Kikujiro Honda, Lemon Hanazawa
Genre: Comedy, Sex, TrashBuy from Amazon
Rating:  4 (from 1 vote)
Review: Takashi Ichinose (Naohiro Hirakawa), a quiet office worker looking for a girlfriend, goes to a party at a singles bar where he winds up chatting with two attractive women: Sakura (Reiko Yamaguchi) and Ryoko (Lemon Hanazawa). It is Sakura that lures Takashi back to a love motel for a night of passionate sex. Six months later they are married. Thereafter Sakura moves in with Takashi's family to become a dutiful housewife. At first Sakura's insatiable sex drive thrills Takashi. Yet over time their constant coupling takes a toll on his libido. Rendered impotent he starts staying longer at the office to avoid all the sex. Soon Sakura's lustful cravings drive her to seek satisfaction elsewhere, first seducing Takashi's grandfather Tomekichi (Koji Makimura), then his sister Yayoi (Kaoru Akitsu) and finally his dad Mitsuo (Kikujiro Honda)! While the whole family is getting it on with Sakura a bewildered Takashi ponders his fate.

In a genre too often dominated by nasty, misogynistic fare, be they the confrontational rape thrillers of prolific guerrilla auteur Hisayasu Sato or the supposedly satirical Rapeman series, Japanese Wife Next Door stands out as one of the more lighthearted examples of Japanese sexploitation or 'Pink Film.' With a brief running time (barely sixty minutes) and grainy, video-processed look it is a typical example of the kind of cheap and cheerful straight-to-sex store fare routinely aimed at horny, undiscriminating young salarymen much like Takashi. Only the film comes across uncertain as to whether it wants to be a subversive social satire or conservative cautionary tale.

Taking the stock male fantasy of marriage to a sexy nymphomaniac as its starting point the plot, such as it is, puts a perverse spin on the Japanese ideal of the dutiful housewife. Driven by an insatiable libido through a decidedly unorthodox path to domestic contentment Sakura still winds up fulfilling her role as a caring, nurturing homemaker in a strangely traditional way. Her constant carnal attention enables the infirm, elderly Tomekichi to walk again and turns hitherto embittered divorcée Yayoi into a happier, more positive person. Unable to argue with results dad Mitsuo merrily joins the fun. As Sakura cheerfully tells Yayoi early on: the ideal family is a sexually fulfilled family. Whereupon her uptight sister-in-law says she is too "Americanized." Because only filthy-minded westerners are obsessed with sex, right?

While the arc thus far would seem to embrace a perversely wholesome family message the film includes a secondary plot strand wherein Takashi grows increasingly disenchanted and alienated. As happy and fulfilled as Sakura's sexual shenanigans render the rest of the Ichinose clan, the film makes a point of how significant a toll it takes on the traditional focal point for sex films like this: the young urban bread-winning male. Later Takashi reconnects, both emotionally and, this being a sex film after all, literally with Ryoko. He discovers he can not only perform but finds sex far more satisfying with the demure girl that got away. By then however it is too late for Takashi to change his life and the climactic punchline seems to contradict everything we thought we learned from Sakura's arc within the story. Still it is entirely possible the team behind Japanese Wife Next Door do not aspire to any form of social satire or sweeping statement and the plot is simply an excuse to string together a bunch of slapstick sex scenes and silly gags. While explicit the sex is not especially sexy and the eye-rollingly broad comedy is not especially funny. The cast pitch their performances at cheesy sitcom level, with veterans Koji Makamura and Kikujiro Honda the worst offenders, as they mug enthusiastically and break the forth wall when Sakura straddles them. British viewers may well glean some weird sense of nostalgia from this having experienced a similar formula: equal parts sleazy and goofy, with Robin Askwith back in the Seventies.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam


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