Welcome Back, Mr. McDonald (1998)

Genres - Comedy  |   Sub-Genres - Screwball Comedy, Showbiz Comedy  |   Run Time - 98 min.  |   Countries - Japan   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Synopsis by Jonathan Crow

Noted television screenwriter and founder of the acclaimed theatrical group Tokyo Sunshine Boys, Koki Mitani makes his directorial debut with this wickedly funny look at a live radio broadcast gone horribly wrong. As a part of a PR stunt, a Tokyo radio station holds an amateur screenwriting contest and the winner (and only contestant) is a meek and guileless housewife named Miyako (Kyoka Suzuki) who spun a sincere little melodrama about a marriage falling apart. At first, everything seems like a dream -- the show's high-strung producer Ushijima (Masahiko Nishimura) is calling Miyako by the honorific sensei and the cast and crew seem to radiate a cool, yet heartfelt, professionalism. Then calamity strikes. Prima donna actress Nokko (Keiko Toda) -- who is ticked off at the current state of her career -- decides moments before air time that her character Ritsuko should be named Mary Jane. Instead of being a modest housewife, Mary Jane is casually turned into a high-powered lawyer. Soon the other characters want to play glamorous foreigners too. The setting is switched from sleeping resort town Atami to Manhattan and then later Chicago. The romantic male goes from being a truck driver to a pilot and then an astronaut. As further plot changes continue to pile up -- ranging from gangster hits to dam breaks to moon landings -- Ushijima and director Kudo (Toshiaki Karasawa) try desperately to keep ahead of things while poor Miyako -- her dreams of being a screenwriter thoughtlessly trashed -- quietly seethes. This film was screened at the 1998 Berlin Film Festival.



winner, contest, homemaker, screenwriter, radio-show, soap-opera, actor, prima-donna, producer [showbiz]