Review for Getting Any?
Asao wants to get laid, and as every red-blooded male knows, chicks dig cars. It’s a simple plan, get a car, get a girl, have sex with girl in car. The one problem is that £2000 doesn’t get much of a car. It’s when he comes up with plan B, joining the Mile High Club that thing really start to get out of hand.
Getting Any gets a 1.85:1 widescreen 1080p transfer on this single layer disc. Like all of the Kitano releases through Third Window Films, the source material has seen a 4k restoration, and in my opinion, Getting Any is the best transfer yet, clean of print damage, with strong, consistent colours, and stable throughout. The image is clear and sharp, and detail levels are excellent, while shadow detail is also strong. About the only complaint might be with the source material, some rather low resolution effects shots, obviously completed in video format.
The images in this review were kindly supplied by Third Window Films.
The audio is in DTS-HD MA 2.0 Japanese Stereo, with optional English subtitles. The dialogue is clear throughout, the music is suitably humorous, and the stereo does enough to bring the film’s comic action across well. The subtitles are accurately timed, but there are a handful of typos through the film. For once I also wish that the subtitles had taken a page from anime’s book, as I suspect that there are a lot of text based jokes that we are missing out on as they weren’t translated, just the dialogue. Certainly I wanted to know what the captions under a series of portraits in a yakuza HQ said (and why one of the portraits was an ukiyo-e print).
The disc boots to an animated menu, which you shouldn’t watch through before the movie, as there are many of the movie’s funny bits in there.
The audio commentary from Sean Redmond, I found hard to engage with, as it sounds like a snooker commentary. I suggest plenty of coffee to help keep your ears open.
The Interview with Takeshi Kitano lasts 14:32 and is presented in 720p upscale.
The Trailer too is in 720p, and lasts 2:47.
Getting Any turned out to be a frustrating film to watch, uneven in tone, and wayward in style. It’s a wacky sex comedy about a frustrated man’s ever farcical attempts to get laid, and his ridiculous plans to make it happen. Perhaps presaging modern Japanese society, where we often hear news reports that the younger generation are shunning physical relationships, Asao is a man who can only think of approaching women through whatever fantastical means he can come up with, based on whatever mainstream media tells him is in fashion. So it is that he thinks that all he needs is a car to be able to pull a girl. It turns out that buying a low powered hatchback and asking random women if they want car sex doesn’t work.
He then thinks of getting a convertible, but he needs money for that. If bank robbery doesn’t work, he’ll have to get a high paid, glamorous job, maybe as an actor, and of course those who travel in first class aboard jets gets special service from the stewardesses. One wayward and unsuccessful attempt to join the mile-high-club and he inadvertently winds up as a yakuza hitman, a momentary diversion before he realises that he’s setting his sights too high. Just peeping in the women’s communal baths is enough, if only he were invisible...
It’s a ridiculous and absurd chain of events, which somehow hangs together seamlessly. One thing leads to another and it all makes logical sense, but I’ll be damned if I can figure out how it went from a hopeless man trying to score with women, driving the Japanese equivalent of a Yugo, to a gargantuan pile of excrement in a baseball field.
The problem with Getting Any is that it is so uneven. It plays out like a sketch show, like Monty Python’s Meaning of Life, a satire centred on Asao’s desperate attempts to get laid, but commenting on various aspects of Japanese society in the mid-nineties. There are also several cinematic and cultural references, most of which go over my head, but some that I do recognise, a little bit of Michael Jackson here, a little bit of Ghostbusters there, the odd nod to Blazing Saddles. But Getting Any is off and on. There are several moments in the film where I laughed out loud, louder than I have in a long time at a film, moments so drop-dead funny that I was wheezing for breath, and then in the next instant I’m sitting there stone-faced as a gag falls utterly flat, the humour instantly drained out of the film. Getting Any is a binary film when it comes to comedy, it either works or it doesn’t, and there is no momentum of humour going through the film. It never coasts on the crescendo of the last joke, surfing over the failed attempts to add more humour to the point where the next comedy wave hits, as most comedies do. It just flicks a switch. I was either in hysterics, or I was funereal.
If I were to judge Getting Any on the sheer number of jokes that worked, this would be the funniest movie I have seen in a long, long time. It’s just that it keeps throwing roadblocks in the way of the humour that makes it difficult to get enthusiastic about it. Given that for me, the film ends with a roadblock, it’s not the best feeling to leave the movie with. Of course more than anything else in cinema, comedy is in the eye of the beholder. Either way, this is another outstanding Blu-ray presentation from Third Window Films, and well worth watching at least once.