Rating: 1 star out of 5
The Stars: Nagasawa Masami, Hideto Iwai, Junya Kawashima, Osamu Tsuji, Suwa Masashi, Haruki Nakagawa, Hideto Iwai
The Story: After witnessing a meteor crash into the ocean when she was a child, Yone Sakurai’s (Nagasawa) curiosity for the unexplained is piqued. As a young adult, this unwavering interest translates to a thankless job at a television station, and she finds herself programme director for its ‘star’ variety series ‘Are You A Psychic?’. The show offers a platform for individuals with extraordinary ability to display their talents to the world, but has unfortunately gained notoriety for attracting fame-hungry imposters. In a frantic attempt to selvage the progamme’s credibility, Yone is sent on a mission to uncover the real deal. Her wild goose chase leads her to ‘Café Kinesis’, where she eventually realizes there’s more to this countryside bistro than meets the eye.
The Buzz: The film, which is derived from a stage play, premiered at the Tokyo International Film Festival late last year and is directed by Shaolin Girl’s Katsuyuki Motohiro. Its Japanese title directly translates to ‘Go Find A Spoon!’, in reference to psychics with telekinesis powers.
inSing.com thinks: Masami Nagasawa (Proposal Daisakusen, Last Friends) should truly stop accepting roles in poorly written movies which further typecast her as a washed-out has-been. Oh wait, too late already. Go Find A Psychic! is one of those films which thinks it’s a clever parody of sorts but ends by humiliating itself. While it’s heartening to watch Nagasawa shine in anything other than weepy melodramas, the rest of the cast (under)performs like an off-key band and spends too much time reinforcing the perils of overacting to an unassuming audience.
A good portion of Psychic! is set inside a café in the Kagawa Prefecture, and though apt for a theatre piece, it doesn’t play off as well on the big screen. Given an engaging script and well-placed actors, the story might have pulled it off, but alas it all just looks like a shrewd attempt at keeping high production costs at bay.
And indeed, one would definitely want to keep a safe distance from the motley crew of psychics in the film; Ide (Junya Kawashima) is electronically nubile, Kawaoka (Masashi Suwa) possesses telekinetic powers, Kakei (Haruki Nakagawa) is the resident clairvoyant, Shiina (Osamu Tsuji) has telepathic abilities and Koyama (Hiroki Miyake) can freeze time. Thinking themselves grossly misunderstood and having to shield their special gifts from the world, the café becomes a watering hole for them to extol aforementioned powers and share childish shenanigans. Enter Kanda (Hideto Iwai), a malnourished, sleazy-eyed wannabe who somehow gets mistaken for a latest recruit while trying to audition for Yone’s psychic TV show. And this is where the drivel starts to get real.
Cheap laughs in the form of a wayward poisonous spider and lewd jokes, a lot of breaking and smashing, some slapstick physical comedy, sloppy computer graphics and a too-dumb-to-be-believable female protagonist – it’s hard to decide which is worse. But the alarm bells really ring off the charts when the guys, in a good-natured attempt at reviving Yone’s waning belief in the paranormal, concoct a little plan involving a stolen Santa Claus suit and by yet another sheer stroke of genius script-writing, she suddenly realizes she’s been in the company of real psychics all along. The film (finally) ends with an extended, completely unnecessary montage of everyone staring into the sky in anticipation of an impending UFO sighting, elevating what would have been simply a silly, insipid film to an absolutely putrid C-grade comedy.