Lovely Complex

lovely complex

Lovely Complex (ラブ★コン)
Made in: Japan
Language: Japanese
Director: Kitaji Ishikawa
Starring: Ema Fujisawa, Teppei Koike, Shosuke Tanihara
Year: 2006

Synopsis: Based on the manga (comic book) series by Aya Nakahara. The story centers around teenager Risa Koizumi (Ema Fujisawa), the tallest girl in her class. Because of her height, no one wants to be her boyfriend. Her classmate, Atsushi Otani (Teppei Koike) has a similar problem. But being the shortest boy in school, no girl wants to date him.

Koizumi and Otani sit next to each other in class, but often quarrel over silly things. However, their friends notice that they have many things in common and often think alike. Eventually, the two become friends, and since this is a teen comedy, the groundwork is laid for the mismatched pair to become an item. Height differences aside, however, love has its challenges as both frequently misunderstand the other's romantic intentions.

The Good: Lovely Complex is unapologetically cheesy. And in a weird way, it works. With bright colors and goofy characters, the movie has a definite manga-to-screen style. Some of the absurd, random humor actually made me laugh, and I have to admit that director Kitaji Ishikawa took on this project with a lot of boldness and genuine enthusiasm. As silly as it was, it never tried being silly for silliness sake.

The Bad: The height difference between the two main characters, which is built up as such a big part of the story, doesn't seem all that apparent onscreen. It's true that Ema Fujisawa, standing at 5' 8", is tall for a girl. But she's not that much taller than her co-star.

And as good-natured as the overacting is, it probably will get on your nerves after a while. The story also becomes a little muddled towards the end, when Shosuke Tanihara's character gets introduced. And of course, unless you're familiar with the Lovely Complex series, this movie probably won't make much sense to you.

Who would like this movie: Lovely Complex is for you if you're familiar with the manga and anime series of the same name. Also, if you're interested in watching a super cheesy teen romantic comedy from a different culture, this film might provide some interesting discussion points. It's fluffy, harmless, and utterly weird at some parts.

(2 and 1/2 stars out of 4)

Review written by: Joe Yang

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