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Woo La La (released in Japan as Amai x Kireina) is a 2009 American 3D computer-animated romantic fantasy comedy-drama film produced by Universal Animation Studios for Universal Pictures. The twelfth feature in the Universal Animated Features canon, it was directed by Michael Wildshill from a screenplay by Karey Kirkpatrick and Billy Frolick and a story by Wildshill, Kirkpatrick, and John Cohen, and stars the voices of Matt Damon, Debra Messing, George Takei, Ian McShane, Ken Jeong, Brad Garrett, Gong Li, and Hiroyuki Sanada. Taking place in Tokyo, the film follows young Japanese couple Amai Yamada and Kireina Miyazaki, who try to get away from legendary creatures created by a greedy couple-hating collector named Warui Kobayashi.

Originally developed under the title Nippon, Woo La La was the first Universal animated film to be presented in 3D. The film was first released in North America on March 13, 2009, to critical acclaim and earned $532 million worldwide on a budget of $81 million. A television series based on the film aired on Cartoon Network from October 2011 to April 2013.

Plot Edit

Coming soon!

Voice cast Edit

  • Matt Damon as Amai Yamada, a shy but kind and pampered young man living in an apartment in Tokyo. His name "Amai" (甘い) literally means "sweet". He was an orphan after the death of his parents.
    • Jonathan Wildshill as Amai as a child. The voice actor is the director's son.
    • Josh Hutcherson as Amai as a teenager.
  • Debra Messing as Kireina Miyazaki, an innocent, kind, trustworthy, overprotective, and pretty woman who helps Amai as her boyfriend. Her name "Kireina" (綺麗な) literally means "beautiful".
  • George Takei as Warui Kobayashi, a haughty, ruthless, and greedy collector who dislikes couples, especially Amai and Kireina. He brings legendary creatures to life to track down Amai and Kireina. His name "Warui" (悪い) literally means "bad".
  • Ian McShane as Chani, an oni-like creature who is the leader of a team of hench-onis. He is one of Warui's henchmen.
  • Ken Jeong as Mio, one of Warui's henchmen. Being Warui's henchman is Mio's first job, despite him being only a teenager.
  • Brad Garrett as Sumo Gumo, a Sumo wrestler who is one of Warui's henchmen and Mio's partner
  • Gong Li as Ying Yamada, the adoptive mother of Amai
  • Hiroyuki Sanada as Kabuto
  • Julia Kato as Amai's biological mother
  • Ken Takemoto as Amai's biological father
  • Gedde Watanabe as a sushi chef
  • Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa as Cho
  • Dee Bradley Baker provided vocal effects for Amai's pet Japanese raccoon dog Mr. Fazu.

Additional voicesEdit

Production Edit

The idea for a film about a Romeo and Juliet-style love story set in Japan was proposed by Michael Wildshill during the production of Universal's 2004 animated film Computeropolis. At the time, Universal encouraged everyone at its feature animation division to come up with ideas for more computer-animated features. Wildshill, then-Universal Feature Animation president John Cohen, and Karey Kirkpatrick developed Wildshill's concept into a story before pitching it to Universal. Universal officially announced the film, under the working title of Nippon, on August 1, 2003. Billy Frolick was contracted to write the script for the film with Kirkpatrick. In May 2005, Universal announced that the film was expected to see a 2008 release.

In September 2006, Universal scheduled the film, now titled Woo La La, for a March 13, 2009 release. According to Wildshill, the new title was a pun on "ooh la la", which means an exclamation of surprise, and "woo", which means to try to gain the love of a woman. Wildshill commented, "We tried to make the film's name a less fun. The title would make a little more sense since this movie we're working on is about two Japanese people falling in love." The Japanese release of the film was titled Amai x Kireina.

The CGI animation for most of the scenes from the movie was done in-house by Universal in Universal City, California, while the hand-drawn animation for the anime sequences was done overseas by Production I.G in Japan and Saerom Animation in South Korea. The sequences that Production I.G and Saerom did are the opening sequence (which is shown after the opening logos but before the opening titles), dream sequences, Amai's flashback sequences, Kireina's flashback sequences, and the ending sequence (with the credits created by Prologue Films and Scarlett Letters).

Music Edit

Main article: Woo La La/Soundtrack

The score for Woo La La was composed by Hans Zimmer. The soundtrack was released on March 10, 2009 by Varèse Sarabande. Originally, Wildshill wanted Michael Giacchino to compose the music, but he was too busy composing for other feature-length projects, such as Star Trek, Up, and Land of the Lost (all three of which were released in 2009).

Release Edit

Woo La La was released into American theaters on March 13, 2009. Universal Pictures distributed overseas, except in Japan, where distribution was handled by Toho. The film's theatrical release was accompanied by the short film The Sounds of the Ocean.

Marketing Edit

Home media Edit

Woo La La was released on DVD and Blu-ray on September 1, 2009.

Reception Edit

Critical reception Edit

On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 95% based on 183 reviews with an average rating of 8/10. The site's consensus states: "Woo La La is a bittersweet romantic tale that plays loose with modern Japanese culture, while blending Matt Damon and Debra Messing's charming chemistry into the story's own peak at love's barriers." On Metacritic, the film holds a score of 81 out of 100 based on 46 reviews, indicating "universal acclaim". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A+" on an A+ to F scale.

Box office Edit

Woo La La grossed $215 million in the United States and Canada and $317.4 million in other territories for a worldwide total of $532.4 million.

Reception in Japan Edit

Coming soon!

Accolades Edit

Coming soon!

Television seriesEdit

Main article: Woo La La (TV series)



To see the main transcript of the film, click here.


To see the transcript for the trailers of the film, click here.

v - e - d
Woo La La (2009) Logo
Woo La La
Amai Yamada

v - e - dUniversal Pictures theatrical animated features
Universal Animation Studios (Universal Animated Features)
Universal Animation Golden Age

Ama and the Mysterious Crystal (1997) · Galaxion (1999) · Paint World (1999) · Mistress Masham's Repose (2001) · Me & Mobo (2002) · Magina (2003)

Universal Animation Dark Age

Computeropolis (2004) · M.I.S.S.I.O.N. (2005) · BJ and Wally (2006) · Computeropolis 2 (2007) · Swapped (2008) · Woo La La (2009) · Computeropolis 3 (2010)

Universal Animation Revival

Gabriel Garza (2011) · Plucky Chicken (2012) · Quest (2013) · Gabriel Garza 2 (2014) · Paradoria (2015) · Luna & Zak (2015) · Imagimals (2016) · Gabriel Garza 3 (2017) · Lix (2017) · Computeropolis: The Deep Web (2018)


Paradoria 2: Enchanted Realm (2019) · Luna & Zak: Level Two (2020) · Earth Farm (2021) · Hyper (2021)


Despicable Me (2010) · Hop (2011) · The Lorax (2012) · Despicable Me 2 (2013) · Minions (2015) · The Secret Life of Pets (2016) · Sing (2016) · Despicable Me 3 (2017) · The Grinch (2018)


The Secret Life of Pets 2 (2019) · Minions 2 (2020) · Sing 2 (2020)

DreamWorks Animation

Antz (1998) · The Prince of Egypt (1998) · The Road to El Dorado (2000) · Chicken Run (2000) · Shrek (2001) · Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron (2002) · Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas (2003) · Shrek 2 (2004) · Shark Tale (2004) · Madagascar (2005) · Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005) · Over the Hedge (2006) · Flushed Away (2006) · Shrek the Third (2007) · Bee Movie (2007) · Kung Fu Panda (2008) · Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa (2008) · Monsters vs. Aliens (2009) · How to Train Your Dragon (2010) · Shrek Forever After (2010) · Megamind (2010) · Kung Fu Panda 2 (2011) · Puss in Boots (2011) · Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted (2012) · Rise of the Guardians (2012) · The Croods (2013) · Turbo (2013) · Mr. Peabody & Sherman (2014) · How to Train Your Dragon 2 (2014) · Penguins of Madagascar (2014) · Home (2015) · Kung Fu Panda 3 (2016) · Trolls (2016) · The Boss Baby (2017) · Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie (2017) · Mistaken Identity (2018) ·


How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (2019) · Abominable (2019) · Trolls World Tour (2020) · The Croods 2 (2020) · The Boss Baby 2 (2021) · Spooky Jack (2021)

Big Idea Entertainment

Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie (2002) · The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: A VeggieTales Movie (2008)

Animated Films Distributed by Universal

The Snow Queen (1959) · Pinocchio in Outer Space (1969) · An American Tail (1986) · The Land Before Time (1988) · Jetsons: The Movie (1990) · An American Tail: Fievel Goes West (1991) · We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story (1993) · Romeo and Juliet (1994) · Ghost Vision (1995) · Balto (1995) · Cassiopeia (2000) · The Gabriel Garza Movie (2002) · Interstella 5555: The 5tory of the 5ecret 5tar 5ystem (2003) · Tony Tom-Tom's Delivery Service (2003) · Zina and the Vivid Crew (2004) · Curious George (2006) · Tony 2: Across the Nation (2007) · The Tale of Despereaux (2008) · The Pandemoniums (2009) · Defender D (2011) · ROBLOX: The Movie (2011) · Uploaded (2012) · Defender 2D (2017) ·

Animated Films Distributed by Focus Features

Coraline (2009) · 9 (2009) · ParaNorman (2012) · The Boxtrolls (2014) · Kubo and the Two Strings (2016)

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