DON’T EXPECT ME TO JUST ROLL OVER
I’ve been eager to watch this movie because the trailer was pretty funny. It seemed like one of those mindless, quirky romcoms. That was until I read the report about the Korean Men’s Association petitioning against the movie for it being degrading towards men. Oooh crap. Suddenly fun and frivolous got serious. The claim isn’t totally uncalled for especially since the PR department thought it was a good idea to feature dogs at the premiere but I’m only judging the film here.
A smart, pretty fashion editor, Ji Eun-ee (Kim Ha Neul), is a workaholic and has little time and less patience for a man in her life. When her brother tricks her into taking in a boarder, Kang In Ho (Jang Geun Suk), she takes him in as her pet. A pet that cheers her up when she’s down and whom she feeds when he’s hungry. The movie is based on a Japanese manga.
Let’s be real. Calling your significant other by a pet name is something a lot of people do. Also, I know many women who have wanted to train their boyfriends. Some women have even groomed their men just the way they like ‘em. Whatever floats people’s boats, I guess. On the other hand, is it appropriate to show this in a movie?
I will say this. Some of the more “pet” moments like catching the Frisbee with his mouth are a bit much but otherwise the other pet behaviors are adorably funny. I take this as comedy and the movie with a manga-like feel helps to separate it from reality. Although the film makes it clear that both characters are using each other. In Ho needs a well-off female financier so he can have a place to live and eat while he pursues a career in dancing. Eun-ee needs companionship defined on her terms. They’re both adults and are perfectly capable of deciding the type of relationship they want with each other. Plus, the epilogue of the film indicates that she reciprocates by showing her pet behaviors.
The movie is cute but it’s predictable. You’ve got the guy that’s competing for the girl’s affections, you’ve got the bitchy girl that stirs up trouble.
But I think if Jang Geun Suk weren’t cast as In Ho it wouldn’t have worked. He pulls off the wacky cute thing so well. So in that light, it’s a delight to watch him.
The problem is that the movie lacks substance. It never explores the characters farther beyond the surface level and that’s perhaps it wants to stay in that fluffy, light category. It’s great when you’re watching the movie but afterwards, you’re not really left with much of an impression. I’ve had to skim through the film again in order to remember it myself for this review.
I can’t really defend the ending and truth be told, romcom endings are hard. You’ve gotta keep things light and try not to be too cheesy to turn off the viewers. But you have to resolve the conflict. Here, the ending was so anticlimactic. You gloss over the conflict and end with a cheesy “ment” which Eun-ee mocks. So it’s still kind cute and funny but you feel jipped. Plus, the two of them kissing seemed a bit awkward and off. Oh well, it’s cute while you’re watching it but doesn’t look like there will be any repeat playings for me.