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Pygmailon as applied to a noodle shop

  • Jul 12, 2010

What Prompted You to write a Review?

This is one of the funniest movies I've ever seen and I want to share my thoughts on it.

How was the Plot, Acting, Direction?

The main plot was a pygmailon-type movie where a man molds a dowdy, widow named Tampopo  who owns a struggling noodle shop into the ultimate noodle shop owner with the best noodle soup in the area.  This seems like a very simple and boring storyline, however, the late director Juzo Itami makes it work.  He takes the time to show how this stranger teaches the widow not only how to make the noodle soup, but also take care of herself.

In a way this movie is written like a TV show as the film is broken up by vignettes related to food.  One involves the narrator and his sexy girlfriend who mix sex and food.  Another focuses on a grocery store worker following  an old lady who goes around the store squeezing the produce to a pulp.    In breaking up the film and interspersing these vignette could make this a very difficult film to watch.  However, it is done smoothly and seamlessly.


Yes, I was very much entertained.  I laughed a lot through out the whole film and felt satisfied at the end when the transformation was completed on the noodle shop owner.

Did It Fulfill Expectations? Hype Level?

Yes, this film fulfilled my expectations.  It was hyped by word of mouth and on the TV review shows.  However, little in the mainstream as this is a Japanese language film produced in Japan.

Did a Movie Trailer Establish a HYPE?
I did not see the trailer.

Is This Movie Mainstream Or Pretty Obscure?

It is pretty obscure due to the movie being produced in Japan and being completely in Japanese.

Let Your Senses and Imagination Go Wild!

It is really too bad you can't taste what is going on in the movie.  In addition to being a very funny film in both its main plot line and vignettes, the food is filmed exquisitely.  In many of the scenes, I wish I could reach into the film and taste what the characters are eating.

The plot line is a bit cliche at times, but the actors and the director do a good job of making you feel like it a new idea and make it their own.  You can see how the mysterious stranger puts his all into transforming the down-on-her-luck owner of the noodle stand.  He shows that he cares about her from the start unlike in My Fair Lady where the transformation of Eliza Dolittle comes from a wager by two men who start out not caring about her. 

Another thing I like is how there is no romantic implications between the stranger and the noodle shop owner.  Film focuses on how the training and the transformation.

The vignettes do a good job of giving the audience time to digest what they've seen in the main picture. For some the scenes that mix sexuality and food are a bit uncomfortable, but they do flow with the movie.  In a sense some of these scenes are a bit of a parody of the food scenes of the very sexually charged In the Relm of the Senses that was originally rated X when it was first released in the US.  For the most part, though, these vignettes are comic takes on everyday life related to food like the old lady who squeezes the produce to a pulp in secret in the grocery store.

Above all, Establish Your Star Rating 1-5 Or 1-10?

9 out of 10 stars.

Define what the Star rating mean to you...

This movie gets 9 out of 10 stars because it was very funny and I felt satisfied at the end.  It looses one star for being a bit heavy on the cliches.

How would you recommend the movie?

This movie is for older teens and adults due to the sexual content of some of the vignettes.  In spite of the use of cliches, this is refreshing comedy that will leave you feeling good at the end of the movie.

What did you think of this review?

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More Tampopo reviews
Quick Tip by . July 12, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
A Pygmailon-type story of the transformation of a dowdy noodle shop owner barely getting by a stranger who happened to stop by her shop one day. There are also several short vignettes related to food interspersed throughout the movie.
About the reviewer
Gwynne Osaki ()
Ranked #273
Member Since: Jul 12, 2010
Last Login: Jul 24, 2014 03:59 AM UTC
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About this movie



Director: Juzo Itami
Genre: Comedy
Release Date: January 1, 1986
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Screen Writer: Juzo Itami
Runtime: 1hr 54min
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