Dog in a Sidecar (2007) Poster

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A Wonderful Small Film
aaronrourke14 February 2008
The dysfunctional family drama is such an easily forgettable sub-genre that it is certainly a joy when a film like DOG IN A SIDECAR comes along, proving that you can make a thoughtful, entertaining film without insulting the audience's intelligence. Providing a strong foundation of strong acting, skilled direction and intelligent writing, this admittedly small but very rewarding film is excellent viewing, showing the ups and downs of a family in a way that never seems forced or contrived. Hana Matsumoto is extraordinary as 10 year old Kaoru, who suddenly has to get used to a new way of life when her mother walks out on her family. Things seem to get stranger when Yoko (Yuko Takeuchi, who is excellent)turns up on her doorstep, who has become her father's new lover. What could have been a typical family comedy/drama turns into something quite different, as director Kichitaro Negishi concentrates on the small details of Kaoru's new situation, making for a fresh, involving film. As we see Yoko and Kaoru's father's relationship develop, we can also see why Kaoru's mother left in the first place. DOG IN A SIDECAR is a subtle, natural film, and a complete charmer, showing you don't have to use hysterics and melodrama to convincingly portray a family who don't exactly fit the norm.
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woof, woof, woof
Meganeguard8 June 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Kondo Kaoru is a serious young woman who makes a living as a real estate agent. A bit too cold and serious, Kaoru is told to lighten up after a customer complains about her attitude. Even her younger brother finds her stony disposition to be too much to take. However, Kaoru is a kind young woman at heart, and one day while she is taking a day of mandatory vacation, the viewer learns why Kaoru has become so hard edged.

Roughly around the time Kaoru was ten years old, her father left his secure company job to take up the shady occupation of a used car salesman, an industry often linked with criminal elements in Japan, and his wife, a rigid and uncompromising woman, leaves him and her children one morning without saying a word. Kaoru and family live for a short duration of time off junk food while her father's gambling buddies/business partners fill the house with cigarette smoke and empty beer bottles. One day, a long-haired slender woman sporting garish clothing makes her presence at the Kondo household, stating that she is there to make meals for Kaoru and her brother Makoto. This woman is Yoko, a chain-smoking, tough-talking woman who, unbeknownst to Kaoru and her brother, is her father's mistress.

Kaoru is reluctant to strike up a relationship with Yoko at first, because her stodgy mother and conservative school have instilled within her a proper way to act, which is not necessarily a bad thing considering her weak-willed fun loving father, but she begins to loosen up and enjoy herself with Yoko who does such things as teach the timid Kaoru how to ride a bike in order to gain freedom. Soon, Kaoru accepts Yoko into her life, but with her father doing shady business deals and the chance of her mother will return can such happiness stay for long? Dog in a Sidecar is a short, thoughtful movie about growing up and taking the bumps life gives. Kaoru is earnest and sweet, but her environment and parents do not allow her to fully grow as a person and it is a woman from outside the fold of her daily life that changes her. It is these interactions with the other, the unknown and unfamiliar that change Kaoru. Would she have been the same hard-nosed woman if she had not met Yoko or would she have become as weak-willed as her father if her mother had stayed with the family? This question is unanswerable, but at least she learned that Coca Cola does not melt her teeth as her mother had informed her.
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slow, nothing to tell
fluffset31 December 2018
Warning: Spoilers
I understand that this movie tried to show the relationship between the mistress and her lover's daughter. I think its depicted quite well. But I dont like the pacing of this movie, its quite slow and predictable. Why I said "nothing to tell" but I still give this movie 6, because its still watchable and quite enjoyable for some part. I love Toru's character by the way.
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crossbow010623 June 2008
I saw this film at New York's Asian Film Festival this year and the emcee even called it a "chick flick", but one you should like. He was right, it is a pretty terrific one. It centers on the relationship between Yoko, who is about in her mid twenties and ten year old Kaoru, a quiet girl who needs someone to notice her. Yoko is the girlfriend of Kaoru's dad after his wife left (let me stop here and explain something that makes the story so much better: The film does not center on the relationship between Yoko and the father-if it did this film would have been terrible, because you wonder why someone Yoko's age would be with a 40ish shady used car dealer. Its never fully explained and it doesn't have to be. Instead its all about Yoko and Kaoru, thank goodness). The two actresses Yuko Takeuchi (Yoko) and Kana Matsumoto (Kaoru) are wonderful. They are both actresses to watch, especially Ms. Takeuchi. Yoko teaches Kaoru things like riding a bike, takes her to the beach and generally takes her under her wing. Yes, thats one of the definitions of a chick flick, and I loved it. Unless you do not like these kinds of films, I would highly recommend it. I really cared for the characters of Yoko and Kaoru and thats about the best endorsement for a film there could be.
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Several Problems
Tulki-gubbard30 January 2019
Watched this on Asian Crush and it kept me watching, but I am not even sure why. I guess the pretty thin chicks were eye candy, but they never flaunted or anything. Even on the beach the one chick is fully dressed. I mean seriously. Taliban or what??

Aside from that the film went nowhere. What gives? What was the story? Conclusion? Not much I guess.

The subtitles were problematic too. It says "loose" when they mean "lose" and so forth.

Four stars for the thin chicks and teasing me. Nothing else really.
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Life goes on
Hombredelfuturo9 July 2018
...pretty good small film. Never mind in what type of family you belong, growing is such a different animal and the way you construct your life depends on the relation with people that at some point leaved a mark in your life. Here we have a somewhat cold young woman that lives like nothing is so important, just only "lives". The last frame of the last scene is what this film is all about and leaves me in sadness. but life goes on...
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Summer Holidays Charmer.
net_orders27 January 2018
Warning: Spoilers
DOG IN A SIDECAR (SAIDOKÂ NI INU). Viewed on Streaming. Subtitles = eight (8) stars; cinematography = five (5) stars; film-to-digital transfer = three (3) stars. Director Kichitaro Negishi channels a familiar theme by showing what happens when a sheltered, inhibited grade-school girl (SG) unexpectedly encounters her (or at least her mother's) exact opposite (in the guise of a free-spirited young women who is "too old to be her sister and too young to be her mother") . Using a flashback, Negishi relates how a now part-time realtor spent her vacation some 20 summers ago when the girl's mother abandoned her children and loser husband (who sells used cars that are mostly stolen and re-plated) and was "replaced" by the husband's mysterious (and well-financed) girl friend (GF) who one day abruptly just shows up to cook a meal. The GF quickly bonds with the SK and pulls the latter out of her shell by introducing her to life in the real-world (most of which she had been missing out on). The Director also uses this same theme as a thread that runs through his tale: the GF seems also once to have been a withdrawn little girl (which is why she bonds so expertly) and the now realtor (prior to the flashback) is shown helping a shy grade school girl overcome her hesitations. Regrettably, all good things come to an end. The mother returns (to the field of marital battle) and the GF is kicked out after the two literally butt heads (the mother is knocked out!). Acting especially by the two female leads is simply delightful to watch. Yûko Takeuchi cast as the GF is not only stunning to look at but hilarious to watch with dynamic facial expressions that are usually the hallmark of a stage-trained actresses (which she is). Kana Matsumoto plays the SK who is acting (very effectively!) about 10 years younger than she really is (which may account for the lack of typical scene stealing by a child actor since she is not!). Cinematography (semi-wide screen, color) is so-so. Color and lighting are fine with many tracking shots that do not become distractions. But some scenes seem a bit out of focus at least initially. Film-to-digital transfer has problems and may have added to poorly focused scenes. Panning is jerky due to inept domain conversion. Subtitles are fine. A movie that leaves the viewer wishing it had been a bit longer! Highly recommended. WILLIAM FLANIGAN, PhD.
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