Plot: A co-pilot Kazuhiro is getting close to get captain's stripes, but his luck is out. He just crashed and burned on a simulated flight test, and his friendly good-natured examiner was replaced with the principle tough-as-nails captain Harada. Cabin attendant Etsuko also have a bad luck - she is flying her first international flight under the stern gaze of dragon-lady chief purser Reiko Yamazaki, so she is trying hard to not mess up. Back on the ground, Natsumi is fed up with her job working on the check-in counter, operation room director Takahashi is still getting to grips with the fangled computer system. It looks like the tide has turned against the whole aircompany. Mechanics, dispatchers, controllers, and even the bird patrol crew are all striving hard to make the flight happy.
Happy Flight was officially sponsored by All Nippon Airways (ANA).
Director Shinobu Yaguchi ('Waterboys', 'Swing Girls') spent nearly two years researching the airline industry.
«Happy Flight just feels like a film with a lot of characters. Nice characters, yes, but a bit more dramatic interest wouldn't have gone amiss. ... More damagingly, it's just not very funny. I watched Happy Flight in a reasonably full cinema and counted less than a dozen big laughs during the whole thing. The rest of it is breezy and agreeable enough, but for a comedy it's worryingly short on gags.»
«Yaguchi, who spent nearly two years researching the airline industry, tells the story with a level of realistic detail that would make portions of the film an excellent training video, from mastering correct takeoff procedures to dealing with an abusive passenger by doubling up as psychologist and servant. »
«Unfortunately, that onscreen/offscreen synergy ultimately contributes to Happy Flight's lack of tension. ... The feel-good formula here is obvious and winning, but in Happy Flight the notion that it's all going to end well is magnified to a narrative-killing degree because of the very scale of the subject matter.»
«Opening with an inflight safety video, I like the film enough to rank it one of my favourites of this year, for being that perfect balance between comedy, drama, and that valuable look into what makes aviation tick. Highly recommended»
«"Happy Flight" is an eventful day in the life of its subjects, to be sure, but it points out how you can make an entertaining film from an interesting topic without a bunch of soap opera.»
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