Quirky Guys and Gals is an anthology of four short films with a very interesting objective. Using relatively experienced directors and cast members, Quirky Guys and Gals is a project in which student producers (over 25 of them!) are given the chance to experience the realities of cinema production by New Cinema Workshop. The four films couldn't be anymore different from one another and each one has a different tone and different level of quirkiness to them.
The synopsis from Third Window reads:
Approaching the surrealism of its predecessor, Quirky Guys and Gals (Sabi Otoko, Sabi Onna) ties together four stories of people searching for a spark in their lives. Yosuke Fujita (Fine, Totally Fine) leads off with "Cheer Girls," an entertaining tale of a woman (Nanami Sakuraba) whose passion is to lead cheers--though not for sports teams. Rather, she finds common people and creates anthems to encourage them in everyday life. Tomoko Matsunashi's "Boy? Meets Girl," is a Tootsie remake in a high-school setting. Mipo O's "Claim Night" sees the 30-something Mayuko (Tomochika) return home to find the electricity in her apartment turned off, yet when she finally gets a repairman to come over, their over-the-top confrontation gives rise to a wildly comedic situation. Lastly, Gen Sekiguchi (Survive Style 5+) offers up "The House Full of `Abandoned' Businessmen" a quaint tale of a housewife who collects out-of-work salarymen to try and give them a fresh start.
This is a great concept and a great opportunity for budding producers and a testament to New Cinema Workshop to be able to get some known directors and cast members to take part and help guide the segments of the anthology. The acting is reasonably good throughout and the style of acting, whilst different in each segment, suits each segment and character with different levels of quirkiness although sometimes it feels overplayed despite the sort of stories they are. Of particular note however is Kyoko Koizumi in the story "The House Full of `Abandoned' Businessmen".
The scripts are where the film ultimately suffers. Whilst original, they come across as rather lazy and it often feels as though a lot of the film was filmed on the fly and overly-improvised. The first section (Cheer Girls), is in my opinion, by far the best. Totally random and bizarre on all levels it made me laugh watching three over the top high school cheerleaders cheering on people doing regular things such as a young boy tying his shoelace and a waiter struggling to open a jar. In this section, the overplaying of the characters is a requirement rather than a fault.
Overall, this is a solid selection of shorts for an anthology. Despite the obvious low budget constraints and mediocre dialogue, the segments are enjoyable and worthy of your time.