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Ore mo omae mo (Both You and I)

Posted by martinteller on August 22, 2013

Two mid-level clerks (Entatsu Yokoyama, Achako Hanabushi) degrade themselves on a regular basis for their boss (Ichiro Sugai).  They do his gardening, haul his party supplies around, and clown around for his amusement.  They see it as paying a “debt” owed to their employer, but their grown children see it as rank exploitation.  The attitudes of the new generation start to take root when the boss compares the two men to sandals: one is useless without the other.

Like Flunky, Work Hard this is another “salaryman” comedy by Naruse, with more emphasis on the comedy.  Not all of the comedy works — perhaps because it’s so painful to watch Yokoyama and Hanabushi humiliate themselves — but there are funny moments, as when the two mimic a pair of honeymooners.  The theme of shifting postwar attitudes (learning to question authority, workers’ rights, the rise of the individual) has potential to be interesting, but is somewhat squandered by heavy-handedness.  The running sandal motif loses any elegance by the 5th or 6th time it comes up.

Short enough (70 minutes) not to wear out its welcome, and Yokoyama and Hanabushi have some enjoyable comic chemistry.  But it’s minor, non-essential Naruse for sure.  Rating: Fair (65)


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