Yoo-Suk (Ju-hyuk Kim) looks for a girlfriend who disappeared. Ae-Yeon (Yun-ji Lee) has a fake diamond which her ex-boyfriend gave to her. Ae-Yeon was dumped by her ex boyfriend. Byung-Chan ... See full summary »
Yoo-Suk (Ju-hyuk Kim) looks for a girlfriend who disappeared. Ae-Yeon (Yun-ji Lee) has a fake diamond which her ex-boyfriend gave to her. Ae-Yeon was dumped by her ex boyfriend. Byung-Chan (Kong Hyung-Jin) does not believe in love. Bok-Nam (Oh Jung-Se) is in love with a friend of a friend. Written by
Stanislav S, Sochi, Russia
Still not sure if the South Koreans make outstanding Romantic Comedies? Watch this!
I've never been a fan of romantic comedies (aka "rom coms"), but all of that changed once I started watching more films from South Korea. Now it's one of my favorite genres. As of this writing I have seen 75 rom coms from South Korea (including television series), and I've at least moderately enjoyed 60 of them (25 or so range from "very good" to "great" on my rating scale). That success rate is flat-out amazing, especially coming from a guy who previously had difficulty even sitting thru these kinds of films.
So what is it, exactly, that makes South Korean rom coms so effective? First of all, the deep pool of young acting talent in that country is one major reason. Charismatic, attractive, talented actresses practically grow on trees over there, and a solid lead performance can almost single-handedly make a rom com watchable. Secondly, the comedy frequently consists of everyday humor with a de-emphasis on wackiness. There are exceptions to this, of course, but even when wackiness is utilized it's more charming than irritating. Thirdly, there's quite a bit of variety in terms of how the rom com genre is twisted in different ways. Finally, the chemistry between the characters is frequently very strong.
"Couples" (2011) is another great example of just how entertaining a romantic comedy can be. It's actually a remake (of sorts) of the ingenious Japanese film entitled "A Stranger of Mine" (2005), which showcased a storytelling structure that replayed scenes from different character perspectives in order to reveal previously hidden events and motives. That film was more of a drama/comedy, so the Koreans decided to retain the basic storytelling structure and apply it to the rom com genre. They do so in glorious fashion! The plot revolves around the following: (1) a tea shop owner who meets a cute traffic cop during a bank robbery; (2) a private eye who agrees to look for the tea shop owner's missing fiancé; and (3) a gangster with a suitcase full of money.
The screenplay here is incredibly sharp, with a number of surprises and impressive sequences that link the different characters and events in jaw-dropping ways. For example, some short interview style discussions with married couples (who describe a humorous memory in their relationship) are peppered in. At first it seems like these little scenes are added for no other reason than to give justification for the title of the film, but as the film progresses it blends their stories together very skillfully. One scene at a restaurant is simply outstanding, as is a "drive by" moment in a car. The cast is solid all-around, but Si-young Lee is great as the conniving, money-hungry wench.
"Couples" is just another in the long line of awesome South Korean romantic comedies that are so impressive that they can even convert the most die hard critics of the genre.
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