10,000 Bullets   Exploring the world of Cinema from the Arthouse to the Grindhouse™

Japanese Wife Next Door, The 
Written by: on February 7th, 2012

Theatrical Release Date: Japan,2004
Director: Yutaka Ikejima
Cast: Reiko Yamaguchi, Naohiro Hirakawa, Kikujiro Honda, and Akane Yazaki

DVD released: December 21st, 2009
Approximate running time: 61 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Letterboxed Widescreen
Rating: NR
Sound: Dolby Digital Stereo Japanese
Subtitles: English – Non-removable
DVD Release: Pink Eiga
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $19.99

Synopsis: A lonely and single business man meets two hotties at a bar; the one he hooks up with happens to be a notorious nymphomaniac. After three months of marriage the honeymoon is over, as the insatiable demands of his wife make him impotent. When he begins staying away she gets to spend more quality time with her new extended family: sister-in-law, father-in-law, and grandpa. In fact she begins with the eldest, but eventually is having sex with the entire family. One day, the estranged husband comes back to get a divorce. But will the family let him?

This is a Sex Comedy, perhaps in it’s purest form. The film is about sex, what people think of sex, different varieties of sex, too much sex, not enough sex, and the visual depiction of sexual liaisons. Every sex scene is a part of the story, and every part of the story is integral to the subject of sex.  And also hysterically funny.

Reiko Yamaguchi plays Sakura as a kind, bubbly, but unquenchable nympho. Probably not improper to categorize her as a character actor, as she has stared in over 500 JAV films, with very many being uncensored. She always seems to be having a mighty fine time, even when the scenario starts to get kinky. And it gets quite kinky here as well, though always played so tongue in cheek that it’s just part of the comic patter. There is some optical fogging that seems more of an inside joke than really concealing any naughty bits, but this pinku eiga does come within a few hairs of being full blown JAV.

There is some deep seated commentary regarding the effects of sex upon the human condition, and an interesting postulation, ‘What if he had chosen the other woman that night?’. This is partially addressed in the most dramatic (and arguably erotic) scene, but serves as the entire plot of the companion film Japanese Wife Next Door 2 (available separately). That one is dark, dramatic, and kinky but the other family haven’t got a loveable (or funny) bone in their collective bodies. The one stand out scene is the one-night-stand with Reiko Yamaguchi, which just confirms the vast superiority of the original Japanese Wife Next Door.

The DVD:

The picture is very good and widescreen, but it is non-anamorphic and interlaced. The English subtitles are hardburned as well. Audio is fine and extras are plentiful, but overall the presentation could have been better.

This is a send up of adult videos and of modern liberated women; there is lots of nudity, sexual situations, and discussions of sex. It often pushes the boundaries of good taste, but invites us to laugh along as it does so. Always good natured, it never shows the seamier side of salaciousness, and aims squarely for stitches in our sides instead.

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