By: Henry J. Fromage (Four Beers) –
A story so good they remade it… five time? Okay, let me rephrase that. A story so blandly stereotypical, it’s instantly accessibly by pretty much any audience, so they remade it five times. This Korean film got the obligatory Hollywood remake starring Elisha Cuthbert, plus Bollywood, Nollywood (also India, but a different language), Chinese, and Japanese versions.
They don’t even have electricity in Papua New Guineawood, but bitches be crazy everywhere
My Sassy Girl is about, well, a sassy (mean, possibly demented) girl and the boy who tries to “fix” her. Oh, and this is all ostensibly a true story related via a series of popular blog posts eventually compiled into a novel. By coincidence #7, this begins to seem increasingly less likely.
To be fair, for a premise with so many grating elements, this film works surprisingly well. This is due almost entirely to the presence of lead actress Jun Ji-hyun (Gianna Jun), a face you’d recognize if you took my last recommendation and watched the awesome Korean heist flick The Thieves, which she also happened to be the best part of.
Seriously, tell your boss something important came up, go home, and watch this bad boy NOW
She takes a character that on the onset is basically a collection of shrieking anger and a total lack of social graces and manages to find both the humor and the pathos within. Due in no small part to her efforts, the humor in the film hits more than it misses, and once the emotionally string-pulling ending hits, you many find yourself unable to resist its tugging.
The other thing this film does well is play with structure. The easy comparison here is (500) Days of Summer, even though My Sassy Girl came out first. The former certainly does it better, but this film’s random genre movie interludes based on the oddball scripts Jun writes are pretty cool, and the film’s framing device pays off well in the end.
So, I’m no expert on misogyny.
Yeah, I laughed a lot during this
Still, talking about “fixing” a girl with your love has to qualify, especially if you’re the kind of guy who has a “type” who he can’t resist hitting on regardless of the situation.
There’s a reason why this humor translates so well… it’s broad as fuck. So yes, expect plenty of physical comedy (generally acceptable) and open-mouthed reaction shots (not) all cued by a jaunty comical score so you know when to laugh (really, really not). All that’s missing is the actual laugh track. Of course, that intrusive score also lets you know when to be sad and when to coo at the romance. It’s so on the nose you want to hurl about as often as Jun does (and she does… a lot).
Besides the accessibility, you can see why people felt they could remake this. It’s a comedy clocking in at almost two and a half hours. Shit, even I felt tempted to go buy an editing suite and try to cut this monster down by 30 minutes. There’s no way there’s any deleted scenes on the My Sassy Girl DVD. Clearly every single idea for a scene these folks had made it into the finished product, most egregiously a deeply bizarre deserting soldier hostage sequence in a theme park that belonged in an entirely different movie.
Like this one.
This Korean comedy has its moments, but its unwieldy runtime and bitter undertones may leave a bad taste in your mouth.
Take a Drink: whenever a character drinks or is clearly drunk
Take a Drink: whenever The Girl snaps on somebody
Do a Shot: each time Kyun-woo’s situation gets progressively worse