Call Boy film review: sexually explicit drama about Japanese male prostitute is more tiresome than titillating
- Story of an emotionally detached student who becomes a gigolo is shot with all the panache of a 1990s whisky commercial
- Tori Matsuzaka is painfully uncharismatic in the lead role
Daisuke Miura is no stranger to Japan’s prolific soft core pornographic film industry. In 2014, the writer-director adapted his own play Love’s Whirlpool into a critically acclaimed film about lonely strangers finding comfort at an anonymous sex club.
With Call Boy, Miura returns for more sexually explicit antics, but his story of an emotionally detached student who becomes a top-flight gigolo is an interminable chore. Adapted from Ira Ishida’s feted novel, it stars Tori Matsuzaka ( Birds Without Names ) as Ryo, a young lad who has lost all interest in women and sex.
When he is propositioned by Miss Shizuka (Sei Matobu), the madam of exclusive male escort service Club Passion, he soon discovers that his indifference to intimacy is a desirable quality among her seasoned clientele. Before long, Ryo has become one of Club Passion’s top ducks, while his exposure to myriad peccadillos, quirks and sexual idiosyncrasies begins to thaw his steely heart.
However, the women closest to him – classmate Megumi (Yuki Sakurai), Shizuka’s mute daughter Sakura (Ami Tomite) and indeed the madam herself – only serve to complicate Ryo’s otherwise singular existence.
Shot with all the panache of a chintzy ’90s whisky commercial, Call Boy is endlessly tiresome rather than erotically titillating, despite the abundance of skin on display throughout. Matsuzaka is a painfully uncharismatic lead; while Matobu’s experience lends her a modicum of gravitas, most of their co-stars are employed solely to disrobe for the camera.
Considering the time spent frankly exploring the sexual hang-ups of mature women, Call Boy, when called upon for insight or analysis, falls limp.
Call Boy opens on December 6
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