The Happiness of the Katakuris | Chicago Reader

The Happiness of the Katakuris

Japanese director Takashi Miike is a cult filmmaker for our time. His work since 1995 has been fast, cheap, and frequently out of control. Celebrated by his fans for excessively violent horror thrillers such as Audition (1999) and Ichi the Killer (2001), Miike takes a welcome break from that fare with The Happiness of the Katakuris, a camp musical-comedy hoot. It comes on like an outrageous episode of The Simpsons or South Park, milking humor from a happy-smiley family's attempts to turn a country estate into a guest house. As their new life spins out of control, murders and apparitions do nothing to halt the flow of songs, dances, and sickening pastel imagery. Like an Austin Powers movie made for a fraction of the cost, it throws in a bit of everything—scatological jokes, movie pastiches, animation, satire of national manners—as it whips up an infectious energy. Starring Kenji Sawada and Keiko Matsuzaka. In Japanese with subtitles. R, 113 min.

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