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By Admin | September 28, 1998

Some of the best comedies have been coming out of Japan. Films like Tampopo (1986) and Shall We Dance? (1996) have taken the best elements of old Hollywood screwball comedies and given them their own unique cultural spin. Case in point: Koko Mitari’s debut film about a group of actors who are preparing to perform a live radio play named, “The Woman of Destiny,” a hopelessly melodramatic soap opera. However, the star of the show, an aging Prima donna who always gets her way, demands a few changes or she walks. Once the rest of the cast finds out they demand changes of their own. Initially, the changes are innocent enough, a name change here, an occupation change there. But as the play progresses and ego’s run rampant, the changes increase in number and absurdity so that the play rapidly escalates from a simple love story between villagers into a full-blown melodrama complete with NASA-trained pilots and dam bursting catastrophes. Welcome Back Mr. McDonald is an endlessly entertaining film about the battle to keep one’s artistic integrity when everyone else around you is losing theirs. Mitari’s film manages to capture perfectly the screwball comedy ethic and updates it in a new and exciting way.

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