"The Ramen Girl" on DVD and Streaming on Netflix

Remember this film? As many predicted, it never saw the light of a movie projector here in the states.  Its destiny seemed to always be the dusty part of your local Blockbuster DVD rack. But as I found out last week, it is also now simultaneously available to watch in streaming video on Netflix on their Watch Instantly feature.

This is actually apropos because the movie is like instant ramen: it won't be revelatory, but it's quick, light, and does what it needs to do.

Expecting an outright disaster, I admit that I actually enjoyed it. Barring Brittany Murphy, who seems to overplay her batting eyelashes and lip pouts, the acting was better than expected. 

Yes, there are gaping plot holes.  For example, how did Murphy's character go from not understanding a word of Japanese to having a deep discussion about the philosophy of ramen in the span of two scenes?  The editing is clunky.  And some segments are blatant rip-offs from Like Water For Chocolate.

But by the time the cheesy ending fades out, you'll agree that this lite combo bowl of Lost in Translation and Tampopo, could have been a lot worse.

For Tampopo fans, there's one compelling reason to see the flick.  At about the 1:20:00 mark, an extra and unexpected treat: None other than Tsutomu Yamazaki -- the actor who played Goro, the lead character in Tampopo -- makes a cameo as The Grand Master.  His two short scenes alone are worth clicking the "Watch Instantly" button alone.

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