Go Find a Psychic! (aka: Bend, Spoon!, Magare! Spoon, 曲がれ！スプーン) — movie review
Posted on December 13, 2011 by Chris Nelson
I inadvertently watched a Christmas movie the other day. I usually steer clear of them – unless they’re horror or action films – but this one came in a surprisingly schmaltz-free package.
Go Find a Psychic! (aka: Bend, Spoon!, Magare! Spoon, 曲がれ！スプーン) tells the tale of Yone Sakurai (Masami Nagasawa, Cobalt Blue), a young woman working as a program director for ‘Asunaro Psychic’, a Japanese variety show focusing on psychic phenomenon. While an ardent believer in psychic abilities from youth, every guest she brings on the show is revealed to be a complete charlatan. This leads the show’s producer to send Yone out into the wild in search of a legitimate talent, ordering her not to come back until she finds one.
Thus, Yone begins a months long search, culminating in a Christmas Eve visit to a small cafe, aptly named Cafe Telekenisis, where a group of actual psychics are meeting for their yearly party. While this would seem like a slam-dunk for Yone, it turns out the psychics are familiar with her show, and do everything in their power not to be discovered by her. For unlike the fakes she’s been dealing with, these real psychics have no interest in being outed.
Now, you can probably imagine how this plays out, and admittedly it’s not all that surprising. Basically what you have is a number of cutely comedic setups where the psychics inadvertently (or purposely) use their powers, and then try to cover it up before Yone notices. And while a few of these employ amusing special effects, none of these scenarios really require the medium of film for their realization. For the most part, the script could be adapted as a community stage-play with little to nothing lost in the way of its humor.
But where Go Find a Psychic! wins is its charm. It’s sort of the reverse version of Trick, where the protagonists try to catch a flub to prove a negative, but much more uplifting due to its stance on the existence of real magic. And the comedy is so good natured that, even when you see a joke coming from a mile away, you cannot help but laugh once it arrives.
Part of this is due to the film’s quality cast. Lead, Masami Nagasawa, brings just the right level of charming naievete to her role, her character being a cutely cautious enthusiast instead of pathetically gullible pushover. Likewise, the psychics are played by a band of awesomely funny actors. These include Hiroki Miyaki (Trick: The Movie) as a mischevious time-stopper, Haruki Nakagawa as a man with X-Ray vision, Osamu Tsuji (20th Century Boys) as a mind-reader, Suwa Masashi as a master of psycho-kinesis, and Junya Kawashima as a master of electrical phenomena. None of these guys are particularly comedic on their own, but their interplay is such that Kris and I couldn’t stop laughing. Rounding out the non-psychics are Hideto Iwai, who does a hilarious job as the “thin man” Kanda, and Dreamlogic favorite, Susumu Terajima as “The Cool, Calm, and Collected” man. These guys have to be seen to be believed. It’s quality stuff.
I must also address the reason I initially sought out the film in the first place: Mukku (Muck) Akazawa. After her amazing performance in The Knot, I figured I’d seek out more films she was in. Turns out, she’s in this picture for about 10 seconds. Still, it was cool to see her at the start of the film.
Director Katsuyuki Motohiro (Shaolin Girl, Udon), has delivered his fair share of hit-or-miss comedy in the past, but Go Find a Psychic! was enjoyable enough to forgive his former tresspasses. In fact, I might have to revisit some of his previous works to make sure I didn’t misjudge them.
All in all, Go Find a Psychic! is a feel good picture that delivers a hearty amount of warmth and joy without ever coming across as cheesy or patronizing. A holiday picture that’s actually good? Interesting, to say the least.