The latest in a long line of frenetic Japanese comedies, Yojiro Takita’s The Yen Family is a gleeful and often hilarious dissection of a nation’s obsession. The four members of the Kimura family form a model, if somewhat insane, blueprint for organizational efficiency. One thing and one thing only structures their lives—money, and nothing beats their ingeniousness for finding new ways to make it. Mom starts the day making panting erotic wake-up calls, Dad dispatches the ambulatory elderly on their daily delivery rounds, little brother presents itemized bills to unsuspecting visiting relatives, sis mobilizes her entire school for various moneymaking ventures, and the whole family energetically pitches in for the assembly-line production of prepackaged lunches. Yet paradoxically, for all their money grubbing, one would be hard pressed to find a more cheerful, bright-eyed, or fun-loving bunch than the Kimuras. If their love for one another takes some mighty peculiar forms—in their passionate nightly sexual exchanges, the husband must pay for each article of clothing his wife discards while she must reimburse him for each “”thrust” received (as recorded on a kind of thigh-strapped odometer)—their affection nonetheless runs deep. Despite an occasional one-note stridency and an imperfect control of mood swings that shuttle too violently between satire and near-bathos, Takita’s nonstop inventive variations on a theme do sustain a film that, if never fully rising to its occasion, never falls too far below its premise. For in a society where traditional values have become ossified and repressive, The Yen Family raises the slyly fascinating question of whether money, far from being the root of all evil, may not instead be the only source of energy and human bonding left.