Writer/director Koki Mitani (Welcome Back Mr. MacDonald) brings his twisted sense of family comedy to film once again, covering the trials and tribulations of a middle class couple trying to build their dream home. Naosuke Iijima (Naoki Tanaka; There’s Always Tomorrow) and his wife Tamiko (Akiko Yagi) need a bigger home. Both are busy with work, but Tamiko knows an interior designer who might be able to design a modern house for them. However, they will still need a contractor to build the final design, leading Tamiko to think of her father who has been building homes for over fifty years. It sounds easy enough, but everyone involved wants to do it their own way. Geneon Entertainment brings the silly-natured home comedy All About Our House to DVD.
Audio: Japanese 5.1 DD, Japanese 5.1 DTS
Extras: Theatrical Trailers, Foreign Film Favorites Previews
Notes: Review is based on a Screener copy of the final product.
Naosuke Iijima writes TV scripts for a comedy series. Tamiko Iijima teaches children in school. Together the couple are a busy unit that has grown too large for their current home. With a new piece of land recently purchased, they decide to design a new home that will fit their personalities. Tamiko thinks of her old college friend Eiju Yanagisawa (Toshiaki Karasawa; High School Teacher), who designed a piece of furniture for the couple. Of course, Yanagisawa has never designed a full house before, but he has always wanted to. He accepts the job, but he isn’t licensed to build the house. Once again, Tamiko thinks of someone and calls her aging father, Chouichirou Iwata (Kunie Tanaka), to ask him to build the home based on whatever the designer comes up with. Simple plan, right?
The main focus of this satirical film pits Yanagisawa’s modern design based largely on American inspiration versus Iwata’s design for a far more traditional Japanese home. Iwata calls in his old construction crew who make sure to plot and scheme behind Yanagisawa’s back so that they win the arguments over which style should win each time. Meanwhile, Yanagisawa keeps landing back on square one as he tries to bring out his creativity without the end result simply becoming another boring job. Stuck in the middle of this war is the poor couple with Naosuke doing most of the legwork while also trying to solve his own problems writing a new comedic TV script.
As the house starts to come together, Yanagisawa begins to become depressed over how often the construction crew has managed to go behind his back to win this war over the house designs. Even the door, which Naosuke agreed to remain American-style, has fallen into the traditional Japanese style. However, one final piece that Yanagisawa wants for the bathroom intrigues the construction crew. Yanagisawa’s floor design calls for an old, traditional bamboo-style textile. Iwata and his group start to understand Yanagisawa’s true intent for the home and there’s still time to work everything out.
All About Our House works along the lines of satire while telling an intriguing story about the troubles of building a home. While not as strong as some of Mitani’s other works, All ABout Our House comes with a certain charm that is found almost entirely in the cast involved. Naoki Tanaka makes for a good TV writer who would do anything to please his father-in-law, even if it goes against what he wants. Toshiaki Karasawa and Kunie Tanaka play off each other with great ease as the two different generations of design butt heads at every turn. And for you seiyuu fans, Koichi Yamadera (Spike of Cowboy Bebop, Togusa of Ghost in the Shell TV) has a small role as Kikuma Aonuma, the husband of the couple who has several troublesome grandkids for Iwata to play with. It’s rather amusing to see the actor play a weenie character considering his plethora of manly, animated roles.
All About Our House is only going to find a real audience with the art house crowd. It’s a film you can watch a few times a year, but there is no real replay value other than a touching comedy to enjoy here and there. The original film is from 2001 and looks very nice in its anamorphic presentation. The subtitles have no issues and the audio is very nice in 5.1 Dolby Digital and DTS formats. The DVD extras are two theatrical trailers that are as silly as the film itself is. All About Our House is an amusing comedy and good family film, but probably not something I would grab until I saw it on sale.