Third Window Films
Asao really wants to have sex. More specifically, he really wants to have sex in a car - and he’ll try just about anything to achieve this; leading us down a rabbit hole of increasingly silly sketches as the put-upon bloke strives to somehow get his end away.
Getting Any? - or to give the film it’s more literally translated title, “Is everyone doing it?” - is a rare Takeshi Kitano outing in which the director doesn’t actually play the main character. Instead, he gifts the role of Asao to fellow comedian Dankan (aka. Minoru Iizuka) who starred in his previous 1990 effort Boiling Point. Those used to Kitano’s typical contemplative gangster types will find Asao a markedly different kind of protagonist - one that proceeds with an almost Looney Toons-style obsessiveness, his antics quickly escalating from stealing cars to robbing banks. Throughout this, we are frequently presented a window into his inner fantasies as he dreams of air hostesses offering him the full works of in-flight ‘sex services’.
In case it wasn’t obvious by now, Getting Any? Is a spectacularly silly film that requires the viewer to leave any semblance of common sense at the door. Normal rules don’t apply here - characters are blown up, only to emerge caked in soot, again echoing the old-school cartoon style. On other occasions, Asao displays such phenomenal levels of stupidity that you start to wonder how he can even function as a human being.
The movie’s opening roulette wheel of auto-erotic thrills and spills makes for a fantastically funny start to proceedings, with Asao desperately fumbling through a succession of vehicles in his attempt to find one that’ll have the ladies leaping into the back seat. Car-buffs will have a field day here checking off a series of classic motors, including the likes of a Porsche 911 Cabriolet, a Austin Healey Sprite MkI and a Mazda RX-7 Series 5 Turbo. The funniest punchline comes when Asao is forced to settle for a mediocre, compact Honda Today, in a scene that plays out almost like a mirror image of The Inbetweeners’ ropey yellow Fiat Cinquecento and subsequent ‘bus wankers’ joke.
Following this succession of first-rate sketches, the film starts to meander a little as Asao’s schemes become increasingly hairbrained. The first of a number of misfires is a lengthy mid-film sequence in which he tries his hand at a career in cinema, which ends up running for far too long - despite the rather meta way in which it plays out as a kind of prophetic dry-run for Kitano’s later Zatoichi (2003). A subsequent plot involving the yakuza is equally so-so, lacking the rapid-fire punchlines favoured by the film’s opening movements. Kitano’s humour has always favoured snappiness and instant-impact, and while the film’s second half contains a number of neat references and parodies that’ll bring a smile to the face of hardcore cinephiles, it starts to all feel like a little too much build-up, and not nearly enough pay-off.
Thankfully, Kitano himself arrives in the film’s final third - playing a crackpot scientist that ends up snooping his way through a succession of porno video shoots, including - yes, we really mean this - stuffed animal porn. Kitano’s wide-eyed physicality lends a breath of fresh air to these scenes - and with the introduction of steadily more science-fiction-esque elements, it’s like we’ve suddenly walked into an episode of Red Dwarf crossed with a Super Sentai show. It all ends in the apogee of scatalogical humour as Asao - now transformed into a giant fly - is slammed again and again into a giant, disgustingly moist turd. Now that’s how you end a film in style.
Special mention needs to go to the stellar Blu-Ray transfer of this release. While still feeling very much like a product of the early 90s, the picture quality shines with a real crispness and clarity that lends itself well to the sketch-show feel of the movie. With so much of the humour falling back on physical gags and rough-n-tumble slapstick, it makes sense we get to see it feel as close and immediate as possible. As an out and out popcorn-comedy cruise through some of the zaniest aspects of Japanese culture, this bright, colourful treatment fits like a glove.
It’s hard to shake the feeling that Getting Any? loses its way in its latter segments - the jokes get too lengthy and long-winded, and the surreal tone takes away from the simple, gut-punch humour of its better moments. But for the first 30 minutes or so, the film serves up some of the most consistent, genuine laugh-out-loud material you’ll see in Japanese cinema. It goes without saying that Kitano has always had a way with humour, but here - in its rawest, silliest form - there’s a universality to the cavalcade of smutty gags that will have you in stitches. Getting Any? might not be an epic masterpiece in the vein of that other classic of Japanese cinematic comedy - Tampopo - but over two decades on from its original release, Kitano’s brand of wacked-out humour absolutely still hits the mark.