With its long working hours and minimal rewards, advertising has long been considered a very demanding profession. In Japanese comedy Judge!, director Akira Nagai pokes fun at the industry's chilling exploitation of its workers. He paints a grim picture of how ingenuity is often sacrificed in the name of profit and fame in this supposedly creative business.
Clownish protagonist Kiichiro Ota (Satoshi Tsumabuki) loves advertising, yet sucks at it. Though Ota doesn't speak a word of English, through a strange turn of events, his boss sends him to Santa Monica in the US to attend a global advertising contest.
If he fails to get his company's commercial to win the big prize, he will almost certainly lose his job. Although the corrupt jurors are easy to bribe, the question is whether Ota is prepared to give up his integrity in exchange for his humble job.
The star-studded comedy is filled with snappy jokes and biting sarcasm, as it highlights the social tension and sense of repressiveness unique to Japan against the backdrop of California.
Nagai has directed a very entertaining movie with plenty of awkward suspense balanced out with comic relief.