Big Man Japan | Chicago Reader

Big Man Japan

Rated PG-13 113 minutes

Whenever Tokyo is getting torn up by a giant monster—from the look of things, about once a week—the defense department summons Masaru Daisato, a weary civil servant who climbs into purple underpants the size of a billboard, receives a massive jolt of electricity, and turns into a towering Kewpie doll known as Big Man Japan. Written and directed by Hitoshi Matsumoto, part of a popular Japanese comedy duo, this inspired 2007 send-up of the atomic-monster genre gets a fair amount of comic mileage from Daisato (played by the director) being anything but a big man: his wife has left him, his grandfather is causing trouble at the nursing home, and ungrateful citizens cover his house with abusive graffiti. But none of that compares with the hysterically funny CGI fight sequences, which pit the chubby superhero against a series of creatures so bizarre they'd keep Hieronymus Bosch awake at night. In Japanese with subtitles.

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