Friday, November 14, 2008

Celeb to Binbo Taro eps 1-3

I first saw Ueto Aya in Koukou Kyoushi 2003 and was smitten. Then I saw how good she could be in Kinpachi Sensei 6. Then she went through her Shoujo manga adaptations phase with Attack No.1 and Ace wo Nerae which I thought she didn't a decent job at. They weren't great shows but they were still entertaining. Attention Please was her graduation from playing high school characters. Hotelier showed that she wasn't ready to play a more mature character no more how much she perms her hair. Her child-like face which had served her so well had become an obstacle. It was painfully obvious that she can't play women, only girls.

Celeb to Binbo Taro is Ueto Aya going back to her Shoujo style roots. Its part normal dude meets celebrity and part rich girl meets poor guy. Like so many Shoujo style jdoramas, Celeb to Binbo is very anime like. Lots of bright colours, weird sound effects and plenty of overacting. Ueto Aya plays Mitazono Alice, the Japanese version of Paris Hilton (without all the sex) who has issues with her stepmother and old boyfriend. Somehow this poor father of three, Taro ends up working as her driver and he gets involved with her personal life.

I really have to compare this show with Staa no Koi which is a pretty good normal guy meets famous star jdorama and the first thing that Celeb to Binbo lacks is good casting. I think the actor playing Taro is bad. I'm just not buying into his poor character. Maybe its his plucked eyebrows and obnoxious shouting. Maybe its him doing manual labour in clothes which are pristine clean. Sure, he has no money to pay his bills and debts but he lives in a decent sized house when a lot of working poor live in very small apartments or have no fixed addresses and sleep in manga cafes. The Devil is in the details and I'm not buying his poverty.

Compared to Fujiwara Norika, Ueto Aya doesn't have that star power. Of course Ueto Aya is a better actress but she doesn't have that screen presence that makes her a star and stand out from the other characters. However, that's probably cause Alice is more of a spoilt rich kid. That would explain my apathy for her character. Not to mention the non-existent chemistry between Taro and Alice. I'd rather they take the risk and swap Ueto Aya and Kuninaka Ryoko's roles. We all know she can play nice girl and I really want to see whether she can act as an ojousan. Or they could have cast Matsumoto Rio (the ojousan from Ace wo Nerae).

Well, I certainly can't blame them for making Alice a spoiled kid. After all, the purpose of this show is for Taro to change her attitude. Yet somehow I am completely disinterested in seing that happen. Taro and Alice are just cutboard characters who are neither entertaining nor empathic. In summary, Celeb to Binbo Taro lacks the chemistry of Staa no Koi and the heart of Konna Koi no Hanashi, two shows that you should watch if you haven't and that are infinitely better than Celeb to Binbo.


hamanosilence said...

I'd buy most of your critic but on the other hand, I just enjoy the dorama for the not so serious show it is. I have to admit that Alice and Taro have no chemistry and Taro overdoes his "poor + kinda clueless" things too.

On the other side I have fun watching also the little things aroudn those 2, which are the coactors, which are doing a good job. And of course a smile from Kuninaka Ryoko enlightens a dorama :)

So in total it's pretty fun but on some levels medicore too.

Jung said...

Hrmm... Ueto does have a kiddy face, and it appears that kiddy-face is fashionable these days, which is opposite of the kind of actresses that were popular 10 years ago... like Matsu Takako, Nanako Matsuhima, Hasegawa Kyoko, Ryo, Tokiwa Takako, Mizuno Miki, Ryoko Yonekura, who all looked older even when they were 20. Thes girls are all big and tall too, which also plays a big role in giving them more screen presence... in my opinion

So now you got me thinking... If they were to cast today's actresses in, Long Vacation, who could play all the female roles in it, and still keep the original show's mood/feeling? (keeping in mind that in the original show, almost all the females were in their early 20s and teens...)

There really may be a shortage of young 20-something lead actresses who can handle mature roles...

jaycbll said...

i couldn't get past 15 mins of the first episode.
i just cant get myself to like ueto aya.
they shdve cast ayaya instead

sparqi said...

I had this one queued up...thanks for the heads up and the thumbs down....DELETED!!

Akiramike said...

Yeah, the only good 20+ actress I can think of is Hirosue Ryoko but she's from the 90s. Its interesting that you mentioned screen presence. Maybe height does have an effect.

Long Vacation/Love Generation cannot be done today. I've not seen any other good renai jdoramas that don't require a gimmick. Hopefully Renbutsu Misako is a sign that they're going back to more mature actresses.

Anonymous said...

I actually agree with your assessment for this drama to being like Star no Koi, and I was quite surprised to see Aya Ueto in this one, but let's just hope that this drama will not fall flat.