Based upon a play by Hideo Tsuchiya, “Yaku Sanju no Uso” has the exact same advanced, witty angle of attack as Otani’s “Avec Mon Mari” (1999) as well as “Travail” (2002), movies in which intimate enemies stripped away each various other’s masks to entertaining and also enlightening effect. But the jokes in “Yaku,” which might have tickled ribs when provided from the stage, fall dead on the display. The audience I saw the movie with at the TIFF testing was, in the immortal words of Lenny Bruce, like an oil paint. The silence was so deafening I began to pay attention for anything looking like a snicker or chuckle (it absolutely wasn’t coming from me). After an hour or so I last listened to a laugh that appeared unusually mad– a why-have-you- waited-so-damned-long-to-be-funny laugh.
One problem is that Otani makes the little initiative to broaden the action beyond the gang’s compartment or otherwise break the hypnotic trance of the consistent talk-talk. An additional is the lack of tension or risks– no one is endangered with anything more than a put-down. By the end of the gang’s interminable trip, I was expecting anything– a card technique– to damage the tedium.