A movie review of “Big in Japan”: John Jeffcoat’s sloppy comedy follows a Seattle rock band touring in Japan. Rating: 2 stars out of 4.

Share story

The sloppy, Seattle-inspired rock musical “Big in Japan” has sex, drugs and plenty of rock ’n’ roll. Plus references to “Spinal Tap,” a nifty animated sequence and an almost amiable account of a Japanese earthquake’s impact on a rock band’s tour.

What’s missing is something to hold it all together: a sense of style, a consistent comic perspective, a leading man with charisma. The local writer-director, John Jeffcoat, did much better with his previous culture-clash comedy “Outsourced” (2007), starring Josh Hamilton as a Seattle businessman who moves to India to train his replacement.

The latter became an NBC series, and it’s easy to imagine “Big in Japan” headed in the same direction. It just needs some work. Actually, a lot of work.

Movie Review ★★  

‘Big in Japan,’ with David Drury, Sean Lowry, Phil Peterson. Written and directed by John Jeffcoat. 100 minutes. Not rated; for mature audiences (contains coarse language, sexual situations). Northwest Film Forum, through Thursday.

The script runs into problems early on, when three would-be Seattle rock stars try to milk laughs out of a bidet and a dimwit who can’t tell a baseball from a touchdown.

Part of a band called Tennis Pro, they’re played without much charm by real band members David Drury, Sean Lowry and Phil Peterson. The boys are meant to be endearing but fall short when they set out to prove that Seattle musicians can make it big in Japan.