(2004)3.5Josh Ralske"What is your function on this planet?" Well, larger questions aside, Gen Sekiguchi's Survive Style 5+ is an irresistible explosion of candy-colored creativity. Sekiguchi's bright palette and repeated rhythmic devices and Taku Tada's anarchic script owe a multitude of debts -- starting with Michel Gondry (his films and music videos), Quentin Tarantino, the Coen brothers, and MTV -- but Sekiguchi manages to incorporate enough fresh ideas with sufficient enthusiasm to create his own surreal world. From the raucous animated opening credits, the film exudes a vibrant energy that sucks the viewer in, regardless of the occasional absurdity of the plot, or the fact that, particularly with Vinnie Jones' hitman character, Tada's script seems to be reaching for a kind of profundity that it never quite grasps. But Sekiguchi packs the frame with throwaway gags and pop culture jokes, and only a few of them fall flat. Performances are uniformly good and steadfastly askew, with the exception of Jones, whose stiffness is greatly ameliorated by Yoshiyoshi Arakawa's plaid-suited wacky energy. The estimable Ittoku Kishibe, in particular, as the "bird father," maintains our interest in what might otherwise have been the weakest of the five major plotlines, and Hiroshi Abe is appropriately over-the-top as the hilariously slimy TV hypnotist, to the extent that the film's pace seems to flag a bit once his character is gone. But the filmmakers pull it all together in the end, delivering a coda of surprisingly tender emotion that actually enhances our enjoyment of all the zaniness that came before.