the film isn't about that. i know this. rather, it's about placing two people who happen to be american, in a city similar yet alien, which is tokyo, and then allowing watching them connect as they cannot connect with wives, husbands, and the world around them. i know that this is what the film is about, and i even enjoyed it on that level: i could have happily watched scarlett johansson for hours, the same with bill murray, who i've always enjoyed.
yet, in scenes where murray tries to adjust the shower head to his height, but can't, and wear the pair sit in a sushi bar, talking to the chef who doesn't understand a word from them, to the talk show, and countless other things... i couldn't escape feeling that i was suppose to chuckle and go, 'uh huh, difference, isn't difference odd? can't it be more like home? who said these silly foreigners could make a city like this?' which, i think you will agree, is an odd experience to have. but i can't shake the feeling the coppola, in some way, was hinting that the two characters would be more comfortable if the city was just more like, well, america.
i can't decide exactly where i think it comes through. i suppose i could spend hours picking it apart to find this little thing, but i did enjoy the film, and really, i can spend my time doing better things. i'm sure it'll linger, and if i rewatch it again, i'll be curious to see if it remains, and if johansson and murrary's characters either become more self centred, running straight into obnoxious, or if they continue to be detached, isolated individuals, stuck in their lives and trying to figure out where to go. for the moment, however, i am responding to the latter, and it's what makes the movie work for me, even when, at times, it could have done with a stronger narrative, or where coppola allowed herself to be too restrained, and could have done with making her narrative sharper by playing some moments differently.
either way, however, i liked it.