Hula Girls (Hula garu)
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As the Korean War draws to a close and the pressing demand for copious amounts of coal takes a sudden plunge, the remote Japanese mining town of Joban attempts to compensate for the devastating economic blow by transforming itself into a lavish Hawaiian retreat in an affectionate comedy inspired by real events and directed by Lee Sang-il. The year s 1965 and the changes that have swept through the outside world are finally reaching Joban. As the mineworkers are laid off and the women of the town take it upon themselves to gently nudge their once-prosperous community from the brink of economic… More
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 50%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"An irresistible Japanese import, Hula Girls is a crowd-pleaser so comfortable with its own clich (C)s that it goes down smoother than a mai tai on Maui."
‑ Jeff Shannon, Seattle Times
"The dance floor is soon covered with syrupy melodrama."
‑ J. R. Jones, Chicago Reader
"This bitter sweet dramedy sits alongside films such as The Full Monty as it follows a group of coalminers' daughters turning into hula girls."
‑ Urban Cinefile Critics, Urban Cinefile
"While he's coasting through on his story, [Lee] concentrates on giving his movie a great big heart. Either that, or this tired old tale simply sounds better in Japanese."
‑ Jeffrey M. Anderson, Combustible Celluloid
"Where the filmmakers fall flat, aside from undistinguished direction and truly poor lighting and cinematography, is in making the characters such cardboard ciphers."
‑ Frank Lovece, Film Journal International
"The girls face prejudice from their families, while their amateur moves frustrate the dance instructor. Will they ever triumph? Just guess."
‑ Stephen Garrett, Time Out New York
"Slick cinematography makes this bland social comedy always watchable, but the movie has its insipid moments."
‑ Bill Stamets, Chicago Sun-Times
"There's nothing new in this very formulaic let's-put-on-a-show drama."
‑ Don Willmott,
"While the outline of the film's plot is fairly standard and predictable, director Lee Sang-il and his co-screenwriter Daisuke Habara have concocted enough obstacles ... to keep the audience's interest. When the film reaches its climax ... it arrives there"
‑ Ted Murphy, Murphy's Movie Reviews
"Steadfast tradition and encroaching progress lock horns in the surprisingly cheerful Hula Girls."
‑ Rob Humanick, Slant Magazine
"Director Lee Sang-il employs every possible clich as he shamelessly tries to manipulate viewers' emotions."
‑ V.A. Musetto, New York Post
"Hula Girls is the latest entry in a durable subgenre about marginalized eccentrics who learn a new skill and become better, stronger people."
‑ Matt Zoller Seitz, New York Times
"An eminently likeable, well-made film."
‑ Janos Gereben, Entertainment Insiders
"U.S. audiences may find themselves impatient with the leisurely way Lee -- a Japanese director of Korean descent -- lets the tale unfold."
‑ Maitland McDonagh, TV Guide's Movie Guide
More reviews for Hula Girls (Hula garu) on Rotten Tomatoes