Picture Credit: KyaniteD
English Title: Practical Joke
Japanese Title: ワルフザケ
Romanized Title: Warufuzake
Performances: Theater Drama City, 3/10 - 3/20; Akasaka ACT Theater, 3/25 - 3/31
Based On: n/a
Author/Director: Masatsuka Haruhiko
Composer: Takahashi Kuni, Miyahara Tooru
Choreographer: Iga Yuuko, Hirasawa Satoshi
Available on DVD: VHS only
|Doyle Wensworth (Trouble Buster for the movie world)||Makoto Tsubasa|
|Jill Southerland (writer)||Dan Rei|
|Mama Rosa (owner of the Carribean Club)||Yashiro Kou|
|Jeremy Attenburrow (David's manager)||Natsukawa Yura|
|Sundance (Doyle's employer)/Vittorio (Mafia Don)||Yoshizuki Eri|
|Ginger (Sundance's secretary)/Anne (Hotel clerk)||Natsuno Saki|
|Cathy (Jill's friend)||Suzuna Mio|
|Pierre Francois (movie director)||Shiomi Maho|
|Marlo Cadarola (a member of the Vittorio family)||Kiriya Hiromu|
|David Baxter (movie star)||Yamato Yuuga|
|Karen Roberts (a new actress)||Saijou Mie|
|Catherine Loewe (acting office)||Kanou Chika|
|Harrison Hudson (Jill's boss)||Ayura Kao|
|Sonia (Mama Rosa's daughter)||Shirahane Yuri|
Others: Kusunoki Keika, Ryouga Haruhi, Takaki Amane, Mamiya Yuki, Moeki Ayato, Shiina Aoi, Hokushou Kairi, Asabuki Yuika, Mihou Aya, Mano Sugata, Aoki Izumi, Ayana Oto, Hazuki Sara, Touka Yurino, Shirosaki Ai, Natsuki Reo, Aino Riho
WARNING!! MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS!!
We start somewhere on a Caribbean island, where a man sits on a lounge chair and reads the back of a book. "Practical Joke: The story of a man living in the shadows of the film world." He laughs.
We go back slightly in time now, to the book's author, Jill Southerland. She's trying to convince her boss Hudson to publish her work as non-fiction, telling him it's a true story. When she threatens to go to another publisher, her tells her he believes her, and her story of the "trouble buster". She tells Hudson that he met the trouble buster... and we go further back in time, to the start of our tale.
Doyle, our main character visits a restaurant run by Mama Rosa, who tells her old friend Doyle that she's returning home to her country. She tells him she'll wait for him to come visit someday. Next Doyle talks with a nervous David. David, we later learn, is an actor, and he has been indiscreet. Doyle has taken care that his problems haven't shown up on the front pages of any papers. This is Doyle's job — he's a "trouble buster". The movie studios keep him on their payroll to take care of any problems that might come up.
David's manager comes up, talking a mile a minute (her name, unfortunately, seems to be Jeremy?). She introduces Jill and Hudson, two reporters there to cover the movie. Jeremy wants to know who David is talking with, and David introduces Doyle as his friend. Doyle goes along with it, but you can see the exasperation building.
Next Sundance (Doyle's boss and the producer of David's new movie) joins the group, introducing Karen Roberts, a new actress who will be playing opposite of David. Last to join the group is Pierre, the film's director, and Catherine, who works in the acting office.
The people involved in the movie leave to find somewhere quieter to talk, leaving Sundance and Doyle behind. Sundance offers Doyle a bonus, but Doyle instead asks for time off, saying he needs a mental break from his work. Sundance replies that he needs Doyle at least until the end of this movie, but promises him a break after.
Jill corners Doyle, trying to figure out where he falls in the movie business. Doyle avoids her questions, claiming to be just a friend of David's.
We return to Jill and her boss, and Hudson attempts to ask Jill out on a date, but she simply sighs at him. Then she asks him to please take care of her book. He agrees and leaves alone. She sits at her table and thinks of Doyle, the cynic. There is foreshadowing about their meeting again.
In the past once more, Doyle gets a phone call from Sundance to take care of trouble in Paris. We get a hint that there might actually be something wrong with him physically when he grabs his arm and winces. The alcohol bottle under his couch pillow may be another clue... From Sundance he learns that David has been in a bar fight and gotten beaten up by a thug.
In the airport, Doyle and Jill run into each other. Jill has heard rumors that David has been hurt and is going to investigate.
In Paris, David is upset because he's so beaten up he won't be able to do the action sequences. We learn he got beaten up when he went to a night club with Karen. Meanwhile, Pierre is very excited about David's wounds, because it'll add a new layer of realism to his film. Karen arrives to explain about the night club. Apparently the thug who beat up David is Karen's bodyguard, Marlo, ordered to watch her by her father, who is a mafia godfather. Marlo tromps up to a terrified David and demands that he hit him, to make things square. Karen tells them that when she was 14 she left her home, thinking she was living on her own, not realizing that her father has always had people watching over her. She says she'll only be trouble for the movie, and she'll quit. But everyone convinces her not to.
Doyle catches Marlo on his way out and asks him to help him meet with Karen's father. Marlo says brains are not his forte, but he wants to help Karen. At that moment, Doyle grabs his arm once more and collapses. Jill is also in the hotel lobby, and runs to find out what is wrong. After several long, painful-looking minutes, Doyle recovers. He tells them not to worry, it happens often. Marlo says he can never return to the Family, but he has a friend who can bring Doyle to the Don.
Jill asks Doyle about David, but Doyle tells her David is fine, and was completely recovered when he arrived in Paris. Jill again tries to corner Doyle for drinks to get some stories out of him about the movie world. She admits that her real goal is to write a book about David, though she's never told anyone that.
Meanwhile David as Robespierre finds out that this is indeed an action movie, and he's suffering terribly. His protests simply make the scene look more and more convincing, however. They finally cut... and the director tells them they'll do the scene again. Jill arrives, bringing a power drink for David. She's amazed by the realistic makeup, and David tells her, no, actually he did the injuries himself to improve the movie. Meanwhile, the power drink has had amazing, mysterious affects.
In a hot house, Doyle meets with the Don. He attempts to convince the Don to loosen his grip on his daughter. The Don asks Doyle if he expects to return home alive. Doyle simply laughs, saying that's true, but he didn't think of such things before coming. After all, the Don is also a father, and his daughter must be important to him. The Don finally agrees, but says he will hold Doyle personally responsible if anything should happen to his daughter.
David asks Catherine to help him by reading the opposite part so that he can practice. As they work through it, we learn that David is not the world's best reader, and that Catherine has hidden talents. Catherine admits that she once intended to become an actress, but didn't make it. David attempts to convince her to become an actress, saying he's never found someone who works so well with him. He wishes out loud that he was working with Catherine rather than Karen. She doesn't buy it from such a well-known playboy. She tells him if he really wanted a new partner, he'd go to the press and tell them who Karen really was. Jill overhears them.
At the airport, Jill meets Doyle and tells him she heard Karen is really a Don's daughter. She's very excited to tell her newspaper. Doyle pulls a nasty trick by squirting ink on Jill's white coat, and when she runs off to try to clean it, he sticks his wallet in her coat pocket and sends airport security after her. She ends up being held in the Paris airport and misses her flight. When she's finally released, Doyle is there waiting outside the police station. He tells her his real job. Jill demands dinner and drinks as compensation, and finally gets a chance to ask her questions.
Elsewhere, Marlo comes to talk to Karen. He apologizes profusely, but Karen is not impressed. He tells her that no matter if she ran away or not, she's the Don's daughter. To him, the Don is someone he'll kill for. She tells him that she hates the mafia. Marlo tells her she'll never see him again. He tells her he's been guarding her for three years, and although he caused such trouble, they were very happy years for him. Doyle arrives, and tells her of the deal he made with her father.
When Doyle leaves, Marlo follows him, and thanks Doyle very exuberantly. Marlo tells him he's received word from the Family to disappear. Doyle realizes that that means "kill himself". Marlo wants to go out to dinner, but realizes he's intruding on Doyle and Jill. Doyle insists anyway, since it's "the last time they'll meet". Jill is a bit surprised to meet Doyle. Doyle tries to convince Marlo to disappear to a country where the Family can't find him, instead of killing himself. Doyle gets called away to the phone, and Marlo asks Jill about him. The truth is, she tells him, that Doyle is suffering from cancer. Marlo tells her she's in love with Doyle, and should be with him so he doesn't have to die alone.
Doyle comes back to a find a very drunk Jill. He tells her he hates annoying drunk people the most and he's taking her back to her room. When she protests, he shouts at her to leave.
The next morning, Jill tells Doyle that she heard that Karen's story came out in the tabloids that day. Doyle is slightly confused, because he hadn't heard anything about it from anyone. He goes to talk to Karen, who has decided to continue with the movie, if the studio will allow her to. She worries about Doyle's promise to her father, but he tells her to worry about herself first, and let him take care of the rest.
Jill suddenly wonders if Catherine was the one who told the press about Karen, because of what she and David said before. Doyle is completely frustrated with David's idiocy, but says it isn't any more of his business. David talks to Catherine with the same question. She gets completely upset, and tells him that if she says she didn't do it, what then? Would he believe her? She says it's the same thing that happened to her before, and this is why she quit acting.
Suddenly Sundance shows up in Paris. He tells Pierre that the movie will go on. He and Pierre talk to the press.
Doyle and Jill part, because Doyle says he needs to concentrate on himself right now. She asks him if he intends to continue with his job, and he tells her that someday he is going to live in a house by the sea. She asks him about money, and he growls at her for popping his bubble.
Pierre invites Karen to join the Parisian movie scene and leave Hollywood. She agrees.
Doyle speaks with Sundance, and says that he'll be returning to America, since there isn't anything more for him to do here. However, he adds, Vittorio isn't going to like it. At first Sundance laughs him off, since how could they be held accountable? But Doyle tells him that he actually went and met Karen's father, that the studio made a deal with Vittorio, and Sundance will be held responsible. So, Doyle says, he's going to look into who is responsible and turn him over to Vittorio. He then remarks that Sundance is starting to look ill. He says that he knows... Sundance is the one who leaked the information to the press. He got to Paris before the information was even well known, after all. Doyle begs Doyle to help save him. Doyle tells him they'll need to pay Vittorio off. After some hard dealing, Sundance promises 14% of the movie's profits. Doyle promises to see what he can do, but this will be his last job.
In his hotel room, Doyle suffers a worse attack than usual. Jill arrives during it, but is so drunk she doesn't even realize at first, despite him actually telling her he's not feeling well. Eventually he has to let her in. But when she realizes he can no longer use his right hand, she sobers up quickly. She asks if there's anything she can do to help, and Doyle reluctantly asks if she can massage his arm. The two argue yet again, because Jill refuses to give up on him. Doyle protests that he can't get married. She asks if she can stay the night; he tells her she can do as she pleases, but he is going out. At last she gets him to make a toast with him, to her last night in Paris, before fleeing in tears.
The next morning, Doyle checks out, and gets a note from Jill. She has returned to LA, but says she still thinks she'll meet him again some day. On the streets, Doyle runs into a much-changed Marlo. He asks the enthusiastic ex-gangster for his help. Together the two cook up a plan... and return to America.
Back in LA, the cast and staff of the movie are celebrating in the Caribbean Club. There Rosa tells Doyle that she's leaving very soon. Doyle promises he'll actually meet her there. David appears and we learn that he's made up with Catherine. Suddenly Jill and Jeremy arrive. Jill says that she no longer wants to write a book about David, because she has met someone she would rather write about. The two dance.
Then Doyle tells Sundance that Vittorio is waiting outside. A terrified Sundance signs right away. Just as they sign, Karen comes in. She catches on right away and plays along, hugging the fake Vittorio, who is actually Marlo in disguise. When they finish, Doyle asks Marlo for one, last favor.
Later, in a park, an ice cream boy accosts Jill with a letter from Doyle. She recognizes him as Marlo. Marlo tells her that it's the last letter that Doyle wrote to her before he died. Jill refuses to believe it, and refuses the letter. Marlo then rips it up, but Jill grabs it from him and slaps him a few times before collapsing. Marlo then runs away, leaving Jill with Hudson.
On the Caribbean island, Doyle finishes the last page of Jill's novel, where she says that she still believes that he's living somewhere....
Doyle, Marlo, and Mama Rosa enjoy the peaceful island, with no worries.
Practical Joke - Review by Ekusudei
Merchandise Cover Art