Kayo Hatta’s short film takes places in a rural Hawaiian village in the late 1970s. Eleven-year-old Lovey is cursed with a bad perm, oversized eyeglasses, and the animosity of a clique of pretty but vicious classmates. Lovey’s teacher berates her openly for speaking in the pidgin English used at her home. Her one friend is Billy, a goofy boy who wants to become a Broadway dancer.
A chance of acceptance and personal redemption occurs at a local Halloween costume party, where Billy and Lovey dress up like the Captain and Tenille. But Billy ruins everything by clumsily attempting to steal the party’s prize money. Lovey eventually hits the boiling point in school when she loudly humiliates one of her tormentors in front of her astonished classmates.
“Fishbowl” addresses common issues facing youngsters: peer pressure, being ashamed of one’s family, the desire to be popular. Yet it also is burdened with the common issues facing bad filmmaking: a dull script, clumsy direction, amateurish acting and an excess of self-importance.
But this one goes the extra mile with a unique dose of awfulness as Mie Omori (playing Lovey) croons the Captain and Tenille tune “Love Will Keep Us Today” in the most godawful example of off-key flat moaning imaginable.
Even at 28 minutes “Fish Bowl” wears out its welcome very quickly.