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Probably brilliant, but you and I will never know...
Don't watch this movie. Or at least, if you do, prepare for disappointment. Yes, you may have heard this movie is brilliant. It may be, but you and I won't get it. This is a movie made for the Japanese, and unless you're well versed in Japanese pop-culture, you won't get the vast majority of the jokes. And I mean VERY well versed - not just an occasional J-pop fan or even a manga or anime freak. Many of the jokes in this movie are obscure Japanese pop-culture references that even the typical Japanese person won't get. Yes, the subtitles will help you follow the plot, but the plot is largely irrelevant, as most of the humor depends on pop- culture references that are impossible to convey to a foreign audience. And, as an earlier reviewer mentioned, there are a few Japanese-language puns that you won't get either. Don't worry, these wouldn't be funny if you did get them, unless you have the same quirky appreciation of puns as the Japanese. But the bulk of the humor here isn't language-specific, it's culture-specific, and even if you speak Japanese you could be left clueless.
Think of it as a Japanese version of The Simpsons or Spaced - for someone who doesn't get the pop-culture references, it would be difficult to appreciate the brilliance of these shows. Yaji-san and Kita-san is probably brilliant in much the same way, but without the cultural background, it comes off at best as just bizarre, and at worst as just juvenile silliness.
That said, it isn't hard to appreciate Yaji-san and Kita-san's absurdist roots, and fans of Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead or even Monty Python should be able to appreciate the spirit if not the content of Yaji-san and Kiya-san. In fact, for Python fans, there are even a few times when you may find yourself laughing while your Japanese friends sit and wonder what's so funny - watch for a clever reference to Monty Python's Search for the Holy Grail, for example. These times are few and far between, however, and for the most of the film you will probably just find yourself scratching your head, wondering what the hell is going on.
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