Up and coming Japanese actress Mayu Matsuoka gives a star-making turn in the delightful romantic comedy TREMBLE ALL YOU WANT, which is based on the award winning 2010 “chick lit” novel by Risa Wataya, Hopeless crushes are typically the stuff of teen comedies, not romcoms aimed at grownups. Yet in the corner of many an adult brain exists at least one excruciating memory of that special teenaged someone you never quite worked up the nerve to speak to.
Matsuoka plays Yoshika, is a nerdy 24-year-old clerk who crunches numbers for a living. She can’t seem to get over her junior high crush, a dreamboat she calls “Ichi” (“No. 1,” played by Takumi Kitamura). He spoke maybe 10 unforgettable words to her in her life, but he remains an obsession — and she’s never had an actual boyfriend.
All of which may make her sound the pathetic loser, but Matsuoka’s star-making turn as Yoshika is a perfect blend of mousy and bubbly, withdrawn and assertive, tongue-tied and talkative. In Japanese she’s an “uchi benkei”, that handy term for types who are extroverted (as in arrogant) with family and close friends, introverted (as in wimpy) with the rest of the world.
At work she unburdens herself to her sympathetic pal Kurumi (Anna Ishibashi), while scorning the attentions of a goofy colleague she calls “Ni” (“No. 2,” played by Daichi Watanabe). When she miraculously reunites with Ichi, she haplessly reverts to her bumbling 14-year-old self in his presence. So when Ni, who controls his feelings the way a puppy controls its bladder, blurts out his desire to date her, she can’t say no. Second-best is better than nothing, after all — but she still has Ichi on the brain.
-The Japan Times