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Issue #153a HOME E-mail: mail@dighkmovies.com BACK ISSUES March 31st, 2003

Leave It To The Nurses
(2002; Toho/Fuji Television Network/Pony Canyon/Ablaze International)

A Masterpiece
Highly Recommended
Very Good
Marginal Recommendation
Not Recommended
Definitely Not Recommended

Alternate title: Nurse No Oshigoto: The Movie

Flighty young nurse Izumi Asakura (a bouncy Alisa Mizuki) longs to have her honeymoon in a far off tropical paradise but her doctor husband feels that he cannot afford to take time off from developing his career. To Izumi's dismay, Wakabakai General Hospital is fast becoming a far less pleasant place to work, thanks to the appointment of a militaristic chief nurse who demands steadfast adherence to protocol. Things get much worse, however, via the arrival of Saruwatari, a hypochondriac desperate to be re-admitted so that he can enjoy the attentions of nurse Shoko Ozaki (Yuki Matsushita). When the chief nurse has him ejected by security, Saruwatari comes back armed and takes everyone on the floor hostage. Shoko happened to be on her lunch break at the time and has trouble getting back into the building when the police swarm around it en masse. The authorities are not sure just how to deal with the situation, though, since the "victims" seem to be taking things far less seriously than they are.

Spun off from a highly popular TV series, this broad Japanese comedy is appealing fluff that takes some welcome deviations from its expected course. Writer/director Kazuyuki Morosawa coaxes bright, appealing (if, in some cases, highly exaggerated) performances from the leads and clearly has fun
playing with the all-too-familiar conventions of kidnapping stories (when the gunman gets hungry and demands some food, the nurses decide that, since the police are paying, why not order some expensive Korean dishes they couldn't normally afford?).

As the setting is a hospital, Morosawa is obliged to include some kind of medical crisis, so we get not one but two emergency operations in the final reel. Both are played straight, and remain effectively suspenseful, even though their outcomes are never in doubt. As with BAYSIDE SHAKEDOWN (another TV spinoff that was a huge success on its home turf), there are some small elements and character quirks that will mean more to regular viewers of the series but the movie's most appealing ingredients are universal and the end credits montage (best experienced cold) leaves one with a smile and the hope that the show might someday be available with English subtitles.

Cover art courtesy Fortex.

Alisa Mizuki. Image courtesy Fortex.

Yuki Matsushita. Image courtesy Fortex.

Fortex #FDVD-029 (Hong Kong label)

Dolby Digital 5.1

Sync Sound Japanese Language

Optional Subtitles in English and Chinese (Traditional or Simplified)

9 Chapters Illustrated in the Menu With (Tiny) Stills

Letterboxed (1.78:1)

Coded for Region 3 Only

NTSC Format

114 Minutes

Contains mild violence

DVD menu courtesy Fortex.

Hong Kong: I

Derived from a mint print source, the presentation looks nice, boasting attractively bright colors. Contrasts are a bit harsh, sometimes blowing out the whites, though this may be intrinsic to the cinematography. The sound mix is not overly complex but well executed and suited to the material. The Japanese trailer and a TV spot are the only extras.

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