Cutie and the Boxer

Director: Zachary Heinzerling
Year Released: 2013
Rating: 1.0

Heinzerling takes an close look at two Japanese-American 'artists,' Ushio Shinohara and his wife Noriko, as Ushio continues to make junky-looking motorcycles and punch canvases with paint-covered boxing gloves while Noriko works on her paintings and autobiographical cartoon story ("Cutie and Bullie") documenting her life with her egomaniac husband. I'm glad it shows them warts-and-all - including Ushio's declaration that he's a 'genius' (he is certainly not) and their son's alcoholism - but it's more depressing than anything: I'm glad the two managed to eke out a living in NYC doing what they like doing (regardless of the quality of the work), though it's clear it's more a relationship of convenience for both as Noriko seems unhappy but trapped ('escaping,' as it were, through her drawings) and Ushio thinks nothing of leaving for Japan without his wife. If anything, Noriko's graphic novel-ish "Cutie and Bullie" is considerably better (speaking of personal preference) than anything her husband can cobble together (she tells him at one point, and correctly so, that his latest painting is lousy). A bit more of a review of Ushio's past efforts would have been nice ... unless he's been doing the same thing for years and years and never evolved.