Cast Me If You Can, (Wakiyaku Monogatari), is a Japanese romantic comedy released in 2010. Directed by Atsushi Ogata, it tells the story of Hiroshi, (Toru Masuoka), a struggling actor waiting for his big break. The film follows his misfortunes, meanderings, and eventual love-collision with Aya, (Hiromi Nagasaku), a fellow star-seeking thespian.
My wife and I, optimistically attracted to the DVD's cover art, picked this film up on a hopeful whim. Something about the design read quirky and we were sold. Now, after watching, I'd not argue that it that description down completely but I'd also not accuse the film of making any major cinematic strides. Sans the obvious language difference, it was boiled down to just one more romantic comedy that leaned heavily on the style we're constantly blasted with here in the States. Thus, if you're expecting some special variable in the genre because it was shot out of the Japanese cannon, you may end up disappointed. Everything from the pop-classical soundtrack, (a constant), to the disjointed and awkward, "getting to know her" section reeked of the tried-and-true template that is Romantic Comedy. And I wanted more.
That being said, however, there are some redeeming qualities found in the individual performances. Catch Me If You Can is well acted:
The relationship between Hiroshi and his father Kenta, (Masahiko Tsugawa), was warm, realistic, and at times pleasantly funny.
Likewise, the interactions between Hiroshi and Aya were well scripted and enhanced greatly by the all-absorbing cuteness of Hiromi Nagasaku. The woman is adorable but sharp and because of this I found her absolutely addictive. (Seemingly relevant side-note: my wife is from Japan and she was excited to see Nagasaku cast as a main - she's apparently admired in that country. I can see why.)
As far as the rest of the cast, I'll refrain from dragging this out with a detailed description of each, but all of the actors in supporting roles, (save the stiff American), were impressive, as well. An all around solid performance. This garnered some respect for the director and I'll be trying more of his films because of it.
With these pros and cons, it's difficult to decide if and to whom I'd recommend the movie. It can only come down to your expectations in the genre, I suppose. If you like goofy love stories and are happy with their predictable little orbit, you'll likely dig this, too.
Thank you for your time.