Ken and Mary: Filmart Review

Rough-hewn cross-cultural comedy set on the road in Malaysia may entertain undemanding local auds but will travel no further.

Kenta Fukasaku's comedy is part goofy comedy, part Malaysian tourism brochure.

Unpretentious on-the-road slapstick extolling cross-cultural values, Ken and Mary is broad, actor-driven comedy whose laughs depend on the forced pairing of Japanese veteran Naoto Takenaka and hunky Chinese TV star Hu Bing.

Directed by Kenta Fukasaku (Battle Royale II: Requiem) as part goofy comedy, part Malaysian tourism brochure, it’s too simple-minded and rough-hewn to travel far beyond its co-producing countries of Japan, China and Malaysia, though its rolling-eyed humor could click with undemanding audiences in other Asian territories.

When Japanese businessman Ken (Naoto Takenaka) is forced to make an emergency landing on his way to Kuala Lumpur, he finds himself late for his daughter Miyoko’s wedding – which he firmly intends to stop.

It’s a mixed blessing when he’s befriended by a young Chinese truck driver called Mary with a stupid but infectious grin, who volunteers to drive him to the ceremony. Transparent as the plot is, it’s kept bouncy by the emotional hurricane of Naoto’s ex-rocker turned unhappy wage slave, and Hu Bing’s charmingly irresistible hillbilly trucker.  

Venue: Hong Kong Filmart, Mar. 19, 2012
Cast: Naoto Takenaka, Hu Bing, Kie Kitano, Zizan Rajan Lawak
Production companies: Sedic International in association with Dream Busters Mayasia, Gofun Pictures Inc.
Director: Kenta Fukasaku
Screenwriter: Ichiro Kusuno
Producer: Toshiaki Nakazawa
Director of photography: Kuzuhiro Suzaki
Editor: Chieko Suzaki
Production designer: Soon Yong Chow
Music: Shen Someya
Sales Agent: Shochiku Co.
No rating, 87 minutes