Rubbers ou onnaDecember 24, 2011
A small romantic gem unlikely to be discovered by wider audiences.
Rubbers ou onna (Japan, 2010)
A few years ago adult video girl Aino Kishi gave a wholly underwhelming performance in the lackluster splatter fest Samurai Princess (2009). No career prospects even in racy genre films, I went on record to say.
An unexpected turn, but so is the film. Full body rubber suits are a sight usually associated with cyberpunk films, such as the works of Shozin Fukui. Up and coming director Takafumi Watanabe, however, took the garment and put it into a lovely romantic drama.
Romance takes two – enter Nobuhiro Yamashita’s favorite testicle-face actor and born-to-be-cult-favorite Hiroshi Yamamoto. He plays a nerdy new section chief at a lunch box factory, meeting a lovely, tokusatsu-loving girlfriend candidate (Kishi) at his work. What a lucky guy!
It’s all fine until he discover’s that the girl’s ultimate bliss: rubber. If the suit doesn’t scare him off, the obsession with rubber underwear probably will.
Kishi is fantastic in her role. She plays cute, she plays shy, and she comes out adorable. Yes, it’s not a Meryl Streep performance, and yes, it may be a calculated moe-hit but she’s lovely. Perhaps for being an AV star in real life, she also does everything in her power to avoid any excessive sexiness in Rubbers.
Well, at least marketing campaign aside she does. The film’s poster art is intentionally misleading, and the trailer downright terrible. Sex is actually sparse in the film, and the nudity there is actually serves common sense more than anything else (no need to hide the camera behind flower vase every time she changes clothes).
The storyline itself is nothing special. Sometimes the screenplay ties a rope around its foot – life with a rubber fetish woman is difficult, indeed. In addition, a few minutes could have been snapped from the end, with the same amount inserted earlier on for extra characterization. And for a romantic film, Yamamoto’s character could be a bit nicer guy, too.
Yet, at 77 minutes the Rubbers is a true feel-good-affair. With enough humoristic touches, almost accidentally innocent eroticism, great performances, and an ending that puts a wide smile to anyone’s face, small flaws can easily be forgiven. For such a nice film it’s sad that audiences, save for a few crazy J-explorers, will probably never discover it.