[Review] Pretty Man – 예쁜 남자

PRETTY PERFUNCTORY

As the titular character, Dok Go Ma Te (Jang Geun Suk) is a good-looking guy with the ability to charm any woman.  Amongst his throng of women is Kim Bo Tong (IU), who been in love with Ma Te ever since she was young.  She does everything in her power to help Ma Te conquer the chaebol world in order to win his heart.

After watching the previews and reading the synopsis, I assumed that the drama would be a superficial comedy.  I have no problems with the drama being superficial as that was something you expected from the get-go but the drama clearly had problems with its tone.  If the drama stuck with a comedic tone, then it’s easy to laugh off some of the exaggerated plot points.

Instead, the drama got me intrigued with a mysteriously dark underlying plot which ends up being makjang and totally predictable.  It becomes such a major part of the drama that it drags the whole drama down as there’s nothing funny about a makjang plot that doesn’t know how to make fun of itself.

There was an article featuring Jang Geun Suk awhile back wanting to be viewed not only as a Hallyu sensation but also as a serious actor.  Frankly, if he wanted to be seen as a serious actor than perhaps playing a superficial character should have been passed over.  The last time I’ve seen a striking performance by Jang Geun Suk was in Hong Gil Dong in 2008 and since then the roles he’s taken on are mostly free-spirited and essentially good looking guys.  Therefore, I can’t be sympathetic to the fact that nobody sees him as a serious actor as he doesn’t really challenge himself with roles he takes on.

As for IU, I still find her cute and she plays that well but the cute was wearing a bit thin in this drama.  Again, I was thinking her antics would provide some comic relief but with the makjang plot overshadowing everything else, there was really no room for her to shine.

To add to that, Choi David (Lee Jang Woo) was added to the cast of characters mainly as a prop to aid the love triangle storyline.  I’m used to seeing love triangles in K-Dramas but is the only way for main characters to realize they’re OTPs by adding a third person to compete for their affections?

In fact, I thought David was a better option for Bo Tong after all those times that Ma Te pushed her way.  I might not have minded it so much but Bo Tong throws herself into helping Ma Te out and Ma Te’s proposal scene still left a lot to be desired that their love story (if you can call it that) doesn’t satisfy you.

Jang Geun Suk and IU made a really awkward fit together because of how their characters come together in the story.  My heart just wasn’t there with them and their lackluster acting was topping on the bland cake.

What was supposed to be a fun, superficial drama ended up being draggy and makjang.  I’m not a big fan of makjang dramas but if they can surprise me then I’m usually along for the ride.  This drama does not.  Perhaps you’d be more sympathetic to the drama if you were a diehard Jang Geun Suk fan and, like Bo Tong, you view him as someone who is constantly surrounded by a halo of light.  Sorry, but he’s just not my type.  Instead, it seems like Pretty Man is confusing itself as being this intense family drama but really it should stop kidding itself.

Rating

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2 thoughts on “[Review] Pretty Man – 예쁜 남자

  1. I’d made it to episode eight before letting my fading enthusiasm pull me away. Then I discovered “My Love From Another Star/You Who Came from the Stars” (whatever it’s called!) and was reminded what really being into a drama felt like. (I’m in LOOOVE….^^) I was keeping returning to this drama as a possibility… but after reading your review I’m not counting on it.
    I thought that some of the most interested parts about those eight episode was the Electric Fairy and Bo Tong’s outfits. ^^

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    • No, no. Stick with “You From Another Star”. With each episode I love that drama and the characters more and more. This drama… I can’t even say that I like Bo Tong’s outfits. I agree with you in that I did like some of Ma Te’s women like Electric Fairy, Jaek Hee and Myo Mi. They help to further Ma Te’s character development. Plus, the drama veers so off its course that it didn’t make it to all 10 women and some of the women were even throwaway characters (meaning if they weren’t in the drama, you wouldn’t miss them). Let me know if you’re into a certain type of drama and would like recommendations. 🙂

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