6/10
DePalma for furries
19 May 2009
I'm sure I missed some of the nation-specific satirical barbs in this off the wall Japanese comedy about cutthroat corporate culture and an anthropomorphic koala who may or may not be a killer. To this Western viewer, "Executive Koala" played like an Adult Swim entry with its unfailing, straight faced commitment to the absurd. Trying to cope with the disappearance of his wife, businessman and man-sized koala Tamura attempts to lose himself in corporate negotiations. He increasingly finds himself haunted by memories of violence and develops a tendency to fly into fits of unbridled rage accompanied by blinking, glowing eyes.

I don't want to spoil any of the film's surprises and would advise renters to avert their eyes from the DVD label as it gives away one of the film's best visual gags. Those viewers who complain about the cheap special effects--for instance, the zipper being visible on the Koala's costume--have failed to realize that these are both budget and style choices. Director Kawasaki, who previously brought us "Rug Cop" and "Calamari Wrestler," has developed a cheapo aesthetic and this is an undeniable part of the film's charm. Troma fans are sure to be delighted by Kawasaki, but will find a sweeter, more gentle film in "Koala" than those produced by Kaufman.

But a little of this goes a long way and the film's story is too flimsy to be compelling. The film works to a degree as it continually amps up the absurdity, but the plot is a tired retread of Hithcock themes with more concern about style than storytelling. It's DePalma for furries.
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