A subversive comedy about the joys of making art.
A film finale to the cult favourite mockumentary sit-com which ran from 2014 to 2018, People Just Do Nothing: Big In Japan centres around the Kurupt FM gang – a group of friends running a Pirate radio station. Reunited by their loyal manager, Chabuddy G (played brilliantly by Asim Chaudry), the gang discover that the team have been offered a record deal in Japan after one of their songs has been used and shot into fame by a Japanese game show.
For those who are fans of the show, Big In Japan guarantees the consistent laughs that the original show does, and thankfully gives plenty to viewers who aren’t familiar by spending the opening ten minutes introducing the necessary relationships and plot points. What follows from there is a great comedy detailing the lows of commercialising art (bastardising it seems more apt in this case) and the impossible highs of sharing the artistic experience with those closest to you. The script would have definitely benefitted from elevating itself above just the generic rags to riches plot ( as the beats are predictable and largely relies on its execution). Thankfully, this is offset from the performances and characters, both of which are so incredibly strong thanks to the years of experience that Allan Mustafa, Steve Stamp and the rest of the gang have with their characters.
It’s especially nice to see Steve Stamp’s character Steves get more of a spotlight here than he does in the show. His involvement in a romantic sub-plot with a newly introduced character (mercifully nothing new ever feeling out of place in the Kurupt world) allows him to shine. Whilst the plot itself is far from unique, the characters do more than enough to carry the film and its smaller nuances (the avoidance of hedonism being a particularly welcome surprise given its frequent display in these kinds of holiday films) also make the film refreshing enough to avoid the pitfalls of the TV show to film transition, seemingly pioneered and popularised by The Inbetweeners Movie.
People Just Do Nothing: big In Japan is no masterpiece, but the performances across the board are absolutely phenomenal, especially Asim Chaudry’s Chabuddy G and Allan Mustafa’s MC Grindah. Ayumi Ito has a relatively minor part, but the actress of Japanese fame in films such as All About Lily Chou Chou, Penance and multiple works from the late master director Nobuhiko Obayashi, also delivers a terrific performance. For anybody in need of a seriously funny return to the cinemas, this should be at the top of your list.
People Just Do Nothing: Big In Japan is currently in cinemas, Certificate 15. Watch the trailer on YouTube below: