Kimihiko (Sadao Abe) has a dream. That, one day, he will play yakyuken (strip poker) with a geisha. The noodle company employee dumps his girlfriend, Fujiko (Kou Shibasaki), and transfers to the Kyoto branch in order to be closer to several geisha houses and turn his dream into reality. Problem is, every house has a "no first timers" policy unless that individual is referred. Meanwhile, Fujiko arrives in Kyoto to train as a geisha and win him back. (Why she would bother with a dude who sports a fourth-grade bowl-cut and makes noodle toppings for a living is beyond me.) Thus, Maiko Haaaan! ("Maiko" means apprentice geisha, and the title more or less translates as "Miss!") Long on slapstick and short on plot, the movie explores the male fascination with geisha culture. What horny Americans—and many Japanese—don't appreciate is that despite a geisha's allure and coy flirting, she remains unobtainable and doesn't put out. Watch the reaction when Fujiko eagerly announces to the chagrin of the house that she's prepared to "go all out and do it with old men"—it's a violation of the rules. But no one should expect serious scholarship in a film that features Abe—a well-known Japanese TV star—prancing through the streets of Kyoto in diaper-like underwear.
Shibasaki decides to get her Maiko on.
Runs at Grand Illusion, Fri., May 2–Thurs., May 8. Not rated. 120 minutes.