Film review: Virgin Psychics – Sion Sono’s unapologetically bawdy sex comedy fails to engage
Softcore romp lacks any real storyline and relies on scantily-clad women
There are enough cleavage and upskirt shots of young Japanese girls to satisfy a pervert’s wettest dream. But while this fantasy comedy is so uncompromisingly vulgar that it might inspire a bizarre kind of moral epiphany, Virgin Psychics is also seriously undermined by its dreadful storytelling. Boredom sets in quickly amid the constant parade of skimpily dressed women, which may make some viewers feel like patients of the Clockwork Orange school of aversion therapy.
Marking a prolific year for Sion Sono, who has directed five features in 2015 alone, this is a big-screen adaptation of the filmmaker’s own 12-part TV series, which was in turn based on a manga series by Detroit Metal City creator Kiminori Wakasugi. Wacky and indecent to a fault, the story revolves around a bunch of virgins who happen to be pleasuring themselves at the precise moment cosmic rays hit the Japanese town of Higashi Mikawa, acquiring psychic powers in the process.
Among these inadvertently affected is the high-school nerd Yoshiro (Shota Sometani), who has now become telepathic – a power he turns out to share with his fiery female classmate Miyuki (Elaiza Ikeda). Yoshiro is obsessed with finding “the girl of his destiny”, whom he believes to be Sae (Erina Mano), the beautiful and aloof schoolmate who recently moved from Tokyo with her father (Ken Yasuda), a psychic researcher who warns of a smutty sort of apocalypse.
Though it’s structured like a superhero origins story, Virgin Psychics’ lackadaisical attempt to establish its murkily characterised antagonists – “evil psychics” who are hell-bent on destroying humanity by turning the population into sex slaves – only results in town-wide stripteases that resemble the cheesy opening scenes of porn videos, unfortunately stretched to feature-length. And by the time this softcore yarn finally climaxes on a note of celibacy, you have probably stopped caring.
Virgin Psychics opens on November 26