Starring: Kiichi Nakai, Masami Nagasawa, Mirai Shida
Director: Ryôichi Kimizuka
Running Time: 104 mins
Good Morning Show is a Japanese film about a news anchor who is requested to attend the scene of a hostage situation in Tokyo by the perpetrator, and although the story may have the chance to save his programme’s falling ratings, it puts a personal secret of his at great risk.
This is a really strange film. Taking a fairly small topic and blowing it up to bizarre proportions in ways that only Japanese comedies seem to be able to do, Good Morning Show is a surprisingly entertaining film, and although it often lags when trying to tell its story as best as possible, it’s often silly and bright-eyed enough to sit back and enjoy, added to by a couple of entertaining, albeit equally silly performances.
First off, let’s talk about why this film is at all enjoyable. It may be absolutely ridiculous in a real-world context, but there’s something about its hugely light-hearted atmosphere that makes it an easy and entertaining watch. What’s even stranger is that the comedy isn’t all that brilliant, given that I wasn’t laughing all that much at all, but director Ryôichi Kimizuka does a great job to make sure you don’t take anything too seriously, and as a result can sit back and take all of the film’s silliest points on the chin.
The most entertaining element of the film is the farce of the whole situation at hand. Not only is there a newscaster being called to a hostage situation to negotiate, but it’s also the input of everyone around him, from the news network’s interference to the public’s take on the whole matter, something that gives the film good energy and humour from beginning to end, and makes what is otherwise a fairly slow-moving movie rather enjoyable to watch.
The performances are another element that make the film work. Again, while it’s not a work of art, the actors’ silly and light-hearted turns all fit the atmosphere of the movie very well. Kiichi Nakai has the air of the experienced newscaster he plays, however underneath he has all the chops of a slapstick comedy star, and that makes for both a convincing character, and a series of impressively entertaining gags throughout. Some of Nakai’s co-stars aren’t ever quite as impressive, however their role isn’t as central, meaning that the odd bit of silliness and light-heartedness adds to the fun and farce of the film as a whole.
And that’s the key to the film. Yes, it doesn’t have all that much dramatic depth, and it may be very silly, but it’s still got a good sense of humour, and tries hard not to take itself too seriously.
However, the biggest problem with Good Morning Show comes when it does eventually go overboard, and try to bring some slightly deeper and more serious ideas into the fray. Throughout, there’s a running theme of the conflict between the media’s hunger for viewers and the notion of reporting the truth and what people want to see, something that eventually becomes the centre of the movie. It’s an interesting idea, but when the film actually tries to make it a serious point, it just feels very awkward in the midst of so much light silliness.
Also, there’s a side story about our main man that, although it ultimately plays a big role in the film, is pretty much absent for the majority of the running time. Mentioned early on and mentioned near the end, that secondary plot just doesn’t have enough presence to make you care about it to the extent that the film really needs you to, proving another disappointing and slightly frustrating element.
Overall, I enjoyed Good Morning Show. If you sit back and don’t take it seriously, it’s a very light-hearted and silly movie with good performances throughout, and although it occasionally strays into slightly over-serious territory, it’s a generally easy-going and nice little film, and that’s why I’m giving it a 7.4.