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Sundance review: ‘R100’

First Published      Last Updated Jan 18 2014 09:45 pm



** (Two stars)

Just before the Sundance premiere of the Japanese comedy, "R100," Saturday night, one of its actors tells the audience that the movie's director is like the Jerry Seinfeld of Japan. Only Seinfeld would never make a movie like "R100." This bizarre, outrageous and deliberately offensive comedy by Hitoshi Matsumoto (who made the equally strange "Big Man Japan") involves a timid department store salesman who joins an underground S&M club in which a dominatrix could appear at any time for a mad session of whipping and hitting. It's unexpected shamelessness for sure, but you would think that an off-kilter film that features leather-bound mistresses who spit, whip, gag, and gobble up their John Does (yes, eat their entire bodies whole) would eventually not succumb to ennui. Yet for all its nightmarish comedy and psychedelic depictions of arousal and euphoria, "R100" eventually becomes dull and repetitive and too senseless for its own good. The movie is likely to cause a stir at Sundance with those who see it much like it did at the Toronto Film Festival earlier this year, but it's hardly worthy of angry conversation.

— Vince Horiuchi

"R100" screens again at: Sunday, Noon, Temple Theatre, Park City; Monday, 6:00 p.m., Sundance Resort Screening Room, Sundance Resort; Tuesday, 11:30 p.m., Prospector Square Theatre, Park City.