Dave Boyle's White on Rice

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White on Rice
Directed by Dave Boyle
Variance Films
Opens March 12, Big Cinemas Manhattan

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A hapless fool only a family member could love, the Tokyo-born Hajime (Hiroshi Watanabe), a/k/a Jimmy, has a gift for offending women, as well as a tendency to lock himself out of the car and set the kitchen on fire. Newly divorced, Jimmy has come to America to live with his sister, Aiko (Nae), her husband, Tak (Mio Takada, excellent), and their gifted but emotionally neglected young son, Bob (Justin Kwong). Having Jimmy in the house literally drives Tak crazy, and, at its best, this uneven film by writer-director Dave Boyle suggests that going a bit nuts is a good thing for the rigid paterfamilias. Boyle and Watanabe may intend for Jimmy to be an innocent who inadvertently changes lives, à la Forrest Gump, but he's often too creepy to care about, as when he begins stalking his beautiful cousin or leaves young Bob home alone on Halloween. As a writer, Boyle is on firmer ground when he concentrates on Tak and Bob, two nearly mute males acting out in all manner of amusing ways. When father and son finally make each other smile, White on Rice glows with warmth.

 
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