I don't speak Japanese, but you can pretty much figure things out by watching (and listening) to the over-the-top performances: When Riku is angry, he scowls and positions his arms in a confrontational stance! When Ichiyo is depressed, he hangs his head in shame! When Mr. Aoi is scared, his mouth and eyes widen to phenomenal proportions!
And if you like a little discomfort with your bad cinema, sit back and enjoy the near-softcore porn presentation of a bunch of young men (undoubtedly made to look even younger) at an all-boys prep school. The opening scene gives us some N&A (nipple and ass), and you also get extended shots of boys rollicking while playing rugby (but throwing the ball like girls), a rape that looks more like a tickle fight and never-ending shots of bare bums in the locker room, all here to skeeve you out.
If you didn't think Schoolboy Crush (a.k.a. Boy Love, a.k.a. Gay Love, a.k.a. Oh for the Love of God Pick a Title) was deluded enough, read the DVD box or watch the trailer, which promise a story of "unquenchable forbidden love" about a young teacher with "striking good looks" in a school where the walls become a "percolating hotbed of sexual intrigue, prostitution and blackmail," all of it "packed with nubile flesh." Even the inner DVD sleeve offers a picture of one young actor in the shower, longingly looking at you as his front hand wanders south (wait...is that Dateline's Chris Hansen knocking at my door? I feel like a pervert just writing this...)
If random bits of nonsense are more your style, it's your lucky day. Watch as Ichiyo confides in his constant companion and closest friend, a gimpy goat named Noah (yep, I'm serious). The two provide my favorite exchange in the film as Ichiyo's concerned teacher looks on:
Ichiyo: "Noah is my only friend."
Still with me? Schoolboy Crush starts with a recently dumped guy paying for sex from a male prostitute named Sora (Atsumi Kanno, a dead ringer for Michael Jackson circa the slightly scarier later years). In the next scene, that hooker is enrolling at Segal Academy, a prestigious school for rich boys. Sora is suddenly under the tutelage of his surprised trick: teacher Mr. Ayo (Yoshikazu Kotani , frequently employing the wide-eyed look of shock), who looks even younger than some of the students (what, you were looking for credibility?).
Sora starts to tease his frightened john, who now fears for his reputation and job. Meanwhile, the new cool kid has his classmates in a tizzy: roommate Ichiyo (Yukki Kawakubo)--the smart but teased outcast--develops an instant crush, but bully Riku (Kazunori Tani), the "son of a mega capitalist", isn't so happy ("Do you realize who I am?!"). He's not the top dog anymore, something he wants to rectify: "I want to get rid of this fuzz. I want back the satisfaction of being in total control!" (hmm, something lost in translation?)
Marvel as the students behave like 5-year-olds, trying to milk Ichiyo for information: "We want to ask you about Sora. Tell me what his favorite food is! Don't hold out! Come on, tell us...hamburger steak? That's sweet!" (I wish I was making this up...)
Eventually, everyone starts stalking or abusing everyone else, none more laughably than the school nerd (stop it, Ichiyo! You're embarrassing yourself! He's just not that into you!). Along the way, we get some laughable fights filled with school boys punching and slapping like sissies, an uncomfortable sex scene with a "shocking" twist, the most clinical kiss ever put on film (followed by a line that has to be a joke: "That wasn't a kiss of a guy who wanted to die!"), a hysterical scene where our protagonists hide from the janitor (nothing like an under-the-bed grope!) and lots more schoolboy butt.
Riku also tries to channel Lauren Bacall sans cigarette, but with a hot dog (!). You won't be shocked to learn that he fails miserably:
"You know how to eat a sausage? First, you smother it in mustard and put it in your mouth. Enjoy the grease from the mustard and sausage. Then gently put your teeth to it...and briskly bite it!"
(Words don't do it justice...you have to see it to believe it...)
Throughout the film, the melodramatic musings of Mr. Aoi provide narration that attempts to add meaning to the ridiculously trivial proceedings: "The sudden appearance of a devil. He's destroyed order in my life and turned everything into disorder!" and "That was the beginning of the worst school days of my life...it was the first step down to bottomless torment!" are just a few of his heavy-handed observations. You also get "wise" bookend quotes that frame the film (Montaigne and Saint-Exupéry's desiccated jaws are dropping even further into their graves), lots of imagery and dialogue about fish, plenty more goat and (for good measure) some fortune cookie lessons: "Once a stone is thrown, you can't stop the ripple!" (Oh, get over yourself, already!).
The film would be funnier if it weren't so repetitive and slow, with the snail's pace eventually leading to more revelations, a dead body, a comedic confrontation in a church (oh, Riku, you're so not butch!) and...get this...a maudlin montage set to Ave Maria. Wow, I'm officially out of words...