Bubble Fiction Boom or Bust

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Japan is in trouble. Serious trouble, to the tune of 800 trillion yen. At the current rate of national debt accumulation, the country will effectively collapse in a few years’ time. The Ministry of Finance traces the beginning of the end to 1990 when a real estate cap set in motion a series of events that caused the bubble economy to burst, plunging the nation into hard economic times. But the Ministry has a crack plan to reverse all this. Into the picture comes flighty indebted bar hostess Mayumi (Hirosue Ryoko) whose mother has just passed away – or so she thinks until grave-faced civil servant Shimokawaji (Abe Hiroshi) shows up on her doorstep. It turns out her mother Mariko (Yakushimaru Hiroko) invented a time machine and traveled back in time to prevent the Finance Minister from making his disastrous policy move. Mariko has since gone missing, however, and now it’s up to Mayumi to go back to 1990 to find her mom and, oh yes, save Japan.

Directed by Baba Yasuo, Bubble Fiction: Boom or Bust is a delightfully over-the-top comedy that colorfully and good-naturedly pokes fun at Japan’s contemporary concerns and past bubble economy. Heads would burst if one tried to analyze the time travel logic or economic reasoning presented in the film, but the goal here is laughter, and Bubble Fiction: Boom or Bust delivers it in large, sidesplitting portions. Director Baba contrasts the somber present with a hilariously excessive neon-lit 1990, a time when dresses were tight, eyebrows were thick, and money was everywhere for the taking. Abe Hiroshi (Trick) transforms seamlessly from a humorless, gray-haired salaryman to a goofy and irresponsible womanizer, while petite pop idol Hirosue Ryoko (Collage of Our Life) and former 80s idol Yakushimaru Hiroko (Always – Sunset on Third Street) make a formidable time-travelling mother-daughter duo. Packed with broad humor, pop culture references, and bubbly nostalgic fun, Bubble Fiction: Boom or Bust is easily one of the most enjoyable and entertaining films of 2007.

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