50 First Kisses 50次初吻 (2018) - Japan
Aka 50 Kaime no Fasuto Kisu
Reviewed by Andrew Chan (Film Critics Circle of Australia)
The Japanese remake of Hollywood’s “50 First Dates” stay far to close to its source material and the result of director Yuichi Fukuda’s effort feels like a complete carbon copy of the original and almost completely uninspiring. Replacing the chemistry driven duo of Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore will always be a tough ask and Japanese counterparts Takayuki Yamada and Masami Nagasawa. The real problem lies in the fact that the original heavily relied on the sweet love between the two leads and neither Yamada or Nagasawa manages to convinces in their short term memory loss romance.
Takayuki Yamada plays the star gazing Hawaiian Japanese tourist guide / playboy who meets the girl of his dreams during a breakfast encounter at a local cafe. The sweet girl played by the lovely Masami Nagasawa suffers from a daily short term memory loss where her memory resets everyday. This allows the premises where Yamada continuous having first dates with her, but it becomes repetitive and by the time of the supposedly touching finale, we feel an hour too long as the pair fails to show why they fall for each other and the believability factor of the romance does not help either. Jiro Sato who plays the overtly caring father provide the film with its best moment in a hilarious “pineapple pen” birthday dance.
All in all, “50 First Kisses” feels too much like the original and the lack of imaginative input by director Yuichi Fukuda is especially uninspiring. The actors try extremely hard to convince, but fails to produce any sort of flame or fire so desperately needed in these kind of romantic comedies. As audience we need to connect to the relationships and love, but instead the film takes short cuts like rehashing the famed “5cm per Second” - “one more time” soundtrack to inflict emotions. The effect backfires as we are reminded of much better films than this one.
I rated 5.5/10