For those a little unfamiliar with the Pinku films of Japan, imagine if late-night Cinemax (“Skinemax” as we affectionately call it) movies were released theatrically. Soft-core porn with a story, if you will, and sometimes even shot by such renowned cinematographers as Christopher Doyle as this film was. Now, take that image and paste it into a typical fairy-tale story of a princess and her prince charming having been turned into a frog. Only, replace a frog that eats flies with a human-sized turtle-like-thingy called a “kappa” that eats cucumbers. And replace transformed Prince with reincarnated friend from high-school. And replace a kiss to break the spell and return back to human form with a fleshy grapefruit-sized pearl you gotta stick up your butt.

That’s Underwater Love. Disney himself couldn’t have written it any better.

The Disney comparisons don’t stop there, even though they really should. What would a Disney fairy-tale be without music though? Underwater Love accommodates in that respect as well.

Now the Disney comparisons will stop, because there’s one thing that almost all Disney films have that this film lacks; and it’s whatever it is that makes the movies good. I don’t know what it is, but Underwater Love doesn’t really have it. It has some T and A, though. Take that Walt!

It’s difficult to hold judgment against a film such as this. It’s more entertaining than expected, yet I didn’t expect much. There’s a quirkiness to it that can be occasionally charming and funny, and an imagination that’s occasionally more fleshed out and realized than I would have imagined. That isn’t to say it’s ‘good’, it just isn’t dull; and whenever it does begin to steer in that direction of running dry and empty someone takes off their clothes to make it…wet.

Sorry, that was gross.

As for the musical numbers they are about as good as a musical number can be when sung by people who don’t sing too well, performed by people who don’t dance too well, choreographed by people who probably don’t do that for a living, and written by people who would probably rather be writing the next sex scene. They’re forgettably cute. The actors prance around and sing songs of love and longing as written by a teenage boy trying to impress a girl he would like to do Pinku movie things with.

In that sense the film has a little bit of an endearing quality to it, which is more than it has any right to; and the actors appear to be having a legitimately good time and not taking it very seriously. It’s a movie in which a slutty woman gives a BJ to a human-turtle-ghost in one scene and then breaks into song the next. How can anyone take that seriously?

It’s not as if it was shot by Christopher Doyle, or something.

The Upside: Quirky concept and execution that keeps it out of the realm of boring and more than often humorous. There’s also human-turtle boner.

The Downside: It still isn’t very ‘good’ despite having some elements of entertaining value.

On The Side: The movie was in fact shot by the multi-award winning cinematographer Christopher Doyle.

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