Jun 28, 2009

[Movies] Yeopgijeogin Geunyeo / My Sassy Girl (2001)

Yeopgijeogin Geunyeo / My Sassy GirlI'm not a big fan of romantic comedies, that much I admit. It's not that I hate them or anything like that - I just generally don't feel the urge to go out and see one unless the leading man is (1) significantly hot and (2) has a very high change of appearing shirtless / naked.

But of course the romantic comedy genre is pretty popular in terms of the larger population and these are still pretty entertaining feel-good movies, and so they do deserve their time in the sun. Even more so, the Korean romantic comedy, like other Korean productions, probably deserve a class all on their own given their unique sense of comedy, love the slapstick and other classical comedic devices put together in a strange way.

Perhaps one of the most famous Korean romantic comedies around remains to be Yeopgijeogin Geunyeo, better known as My Sassy Girl in the international scene and I finally got to see the original Korean version of this particular movie because of my current partner and the experience wasn't as bad as I had feared.

My Sassy Girl follows the misadventures of Gyeon-woo (Cha Tae-Hyun) who encounters a character that we can only refer to as The Girl (Jun Ji-hyun) under the most unusual of circumstances - her being drunk on the subway. The movie then continues on to follow their unusual relationship as friends and ultimately leading to them getting together.

What makes My Sassy Girl so unique, I suppose, is that it's a very fresh spin on the romantic comedy story. Here the budding romance is in no way easy or direct - the characters seem to practically hate one another for most of the film and only seem to barely tolerate them towards the end. And yet this is still a romance story and the characters will end up together - the trick is trying to follow how this happens.

The movie has a lot of visual gags, slapstick moments and other elements of what might be termed as somewhat more "shallow" comedy. This is not a bad thing given too much comedy or comedy that presented itself as too complex or intellectual would ultimately complicate matters and distract us from the core story unfolding before us. This is not to say most of the gags are of this nature - there are a lot of more subtle elements at play throughout the film that reward the highly observant with even more inside jokes of reasons to smile and smirk throughout the film.

Like most other romantic comedies, certain plot elements tend to be highly predictable and I found myself calling a lot of these out in the middle of the movie. And yet there's a lot of things about this film that become very new even though it's composed of various cliche story ideas and plot devices. Kudos to the director for somehow managing that little feat - it certainly gave us a pretty interesting movie as a result.

My Sassy Girl is definitely a great date movie or something you can hunker down on the couch to watch in order to de-stress let your brain rest a bit. This gets 4 full-palmed face slaps for Gyeon-woo out of a possible 5.


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