Hula Girls | Chicago Reader

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Set in a distressed coal town in the mid-60s, this Japanese comedy is another go-round for the Full Monty formula of a conservative community learning to relax and sell sex. The changeover to an oil-based economy has devastated the chilly mining town, and when leaders announce the construction of a glassed-in, Hawaiian-themed tourist center, some of the braver young women audition as hula dancers. Their shyness and modesty make the rehearsal scenes funny and endearing, but the dance floor is soon covered with syrupy melodrama, much of it centered on the women's abrasive hula teacher from Tokyo (Yasuko Matsuyuki). Lee Sang-il directed this 2006 release. In Japanese with subtitles. 108 min.

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