Credit: Digital Spy

Review: People Just Do Nothing: Big in Japan

By Katie Evans

The mischievous MCs are back with charm in their recent Tokyo adventure.

Known for its mockumentary style and quirky take on British life, sitcom People Just Do Nothing has made waves in the UK comedy scene since its commission by BBC Three in 2014. The show, which follows the chaotic lives of five working class friends and their endeavours to create and sustain a pirate radio station, recently hit the big screens three years after its final season with the feature-length film People Just Do Nothing: Big in Japan. It is clear many had not abandoned investment in the dreams of the disorderly Kurupt FM group, as the film opened to sound reception. That is absolutely dutty… what is that, garage?

Turning the BAFTA-winning show on its head but keeping its much-loved loveable rogue appeal, Big in Japan is ambitious with its characters’ development. The film throws the, somewhat incompetent, lads into an intimidating setting, as the ever-entrepreneurial Chabuddy G (Asim Chaudhry) takes his business dreams to the extreme by reuniting the Kurupt boys, appointing himself as manager and taking them on a spontaneous trip across the globe with the promise of a recording contract. When they get there, however, all is not as it seems as they are expected to promote their hit song BANG! through the offbeat methods that don’t quite fit with the sacrosanct vibes Kurupt FM was built on. Will they exchange authenticity for commercial success?

Big in Japan sees friendships and relationships put to the ultimate test in this fish-out-of- water escapade. The thoroughly ragtag Britishness of the Brentford group provides heavy contrast with the vibrance and certain sophistication of Japan, as on numerous occasions their background hinders their understanding and ability to fit in, but this cultural barrier is presented rather self-mockingly. Whilst the adventurous nature of the narrative offers a distinct departure from their dead-end lives back home, it remains true to their personalities and individual spirit. Compared to the dingy West London flat we previously knew, Tokyo is quite the visually pleasing backdrop. Whilst it perhaps moves away from the original shows mockumentary style, it tailors its cinematography for big-screen viewing pleasure. Not only does the film continue their story with the same satirical values as when we left three years ago, but the heartfelt messages that we are reminded of throughout proves just how brilliant Jack Clough’s directing compliments the cheeky writing of Stamp, Chaudhry, Chegwin and Brazier – they are compelling in their balance of silliness and sincerity. With the gang’s The Greatest Hits album being released alongside its cinema run, Big in Japan provides a satisfying end for those who have been there throughout Kurupt FM’s long journey of vicissitude and, occasionally, victory.


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