FANTASTIC FEST 2011: BOYS ON THE RUN Review

     September 30, 2011

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Awkwardness can be infinitely easy to relate to because we have all felt out of place at one time or another. Some of us may even feel that way now, and Boys On The Run paints an interesting picture of how that can lead to mixed results in the real world. This story of love found and lost soon after is filled with over the top characters and situations, but at its core it is about how retarded we can be when love is on the line and all the dirt in between. Boys is a romantic comedy that follows an innocent looking guy that has good intentions but is sacked with a sex-drive that he can’t contain. Some of the real charm is its awkwardness and willingness to fully embrace those things most of us never mention. Hit the jump for my full review.

boys-on-the-run-movie-posterTanishi is a 29-year-old pushover that restocks bubble novelty toy dispensers in a local shop for a living. No one seems to treat him with any respect until he meets Chiharu, a cute co-worker in the creative department. Awkwardly, they form a friendship and in a drunken haze, agree to expand their horizons. Manga for porn seems like a silly trade, but Chiharu goes for it anyways. When she is accidentally left with a bestiality DVD she rolls with the punches and Tanishi finds himself falling for her. Although he turns out to be a pretty damn good boyfriend, Tanishi soon realizes not everyone around him is quite so good at heart. When finding the girl you love and keeping her become two very different realities, Tanishi decides to fight again and again, but whether he will win her back is the biggest mystery of all.

Inopportune boners abound and a running theme seems to center on Tanishi’s sexual frustration. At the outset, he can’t keep his eyes off of the curves of the opposite sex, even staring down the blouse of his own mother. When he finally takes Chiharu out, everyone around him is fixated on what the two did afterward. Sex seems to be a constant topic and it is bewildering to him when he is willing to take it slow. They may be awkward and horny, but they are innocent as well. Like grown children with the sexual drive and hunger without fully understanding everything that comes with it. This, too, becomes a theme.

The film takes a dramatic twist at the half-way point when Tanishi decides he has had enough and decides to literally fight for what he feels is right, whether Chiharu wants him to or not. There is a Rocky-like dedication he takes on, getting himself in shape and even sporting a new haircut likely inspired by watching too much Taxi Driver. Director Daisuke Miura has no problem running Tanishi through the ringer of emotions over the 114 minute runtime. Based on a manga by Kengo Hanazawa, there doesn’t seem to be any punches pulled in the adaptation and what we are left with is an intriguing story of how things don’t always work out how we might hope.

Score: B-

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