Very Ordinary Couple: Bank workers Dong Hee (Lee Min Ki) and Young (Kim Min Hee) must work together despite being newly broken up. They both act like jerks, but discover that they still have feelings for each other.
My PS Partner: Trying to spice up her relationship, Yoon Jung (Kim Ah Joong) attempts phone sex with her boyfriend, but ends up calling a complete stranger, Hyun Seung (Ji Sung). They become friends, and eventually fall for each other.
Only 만: We had the most unsuccessful movie night ever recently, when we tried to find a Korean romantic comedy to watch.
Junggugeo Kaenada 중국어 캐나다: You call it movie night, but the sun was still out when we started trolling the internet for viewing options, and it was definitely the middle of the night by the time we gave up. However, of the dozen movies we skimmed, we watched Very Ordinary Couple and My PS Partner the longest.
Only: Which is to say we made it halfway through both movies, and then gave up.
Let’s start with Very Ordinary Couple. What did you like about it?
Junggugeo Kaenada: I was interested in Very Ordinary Couple, because of the leads. Lee Min Ki had an off kilter charm in “Dal Ja’s Spring” despite his wooden delivery. So, I am happy to see that his acting had progressed in the time between that drama and Very Ordinary Couple. I also wanted to watch Kim Min Hee in action, who I have never seen in anything, but whose dating history I am very envious of. Initially, the couple had an undeniable spark.
Only: It did start out appealing, and both actors were surprisingly funny in the mock-documentary portion at the beginning. Not hilarious, mind you, but funny. But, it didn’t take long for it to devolve into a completely disjointed battle between two crazy exes, with stalking, workplace conflict, and public displays of aggression.
Junggugeo Kaenada: Next, we decided to give My PS Partner a try, because Ji Sung is cute, and the premise had smut potential. Again, it started with promise, because the acts of self-stimulation by the leads were surprisingly explicit.
Only: And yet, it wasn’t long before I lost track of the progression of the plot and their relationship.
Junggugeo Kaenada: I couldn’t get past the premise that the random guy that Kim Ah Joong’s character accidentally has phone sex with looks like Ji Sung. It brings to mind those phone chat commercials where attractive, scantily clad women are just waiting on the phone. To speak with you!
Only: I guess it was fate at work to bring these two horny lovebirds together. Though, to add a completely random nitpick, I was annoyed that he was depicted as actually masturbating, while she was depicting as acting for her boyfriend. Not that I desperately wanted to see her have at it, but it seemed kind of lame that she was faking it.
Junggugeo Kaenada: I think we can save time by encompassing the issues we had with both movies in one go, because they suffered from the same major problem.
Only: Agreed. Both movies were too over-the-top. The two leads of Very Ordinary Couple acted like psychos in the beginning, and it was so off-putting that we didn’t make it to their inevitable touching reconciliation. My P.S. Partner was just as bad, with Ji Sung going from flipping tables and weeping over his ex to masturbating to a complete stranger over the phone and then falling for her in short order.
Junggugeo Kaenada: Both movies could easily have been the plot of a Kdrama, and that is where the problem lies. Within the span of 16 episodes, there is time to show where the lead couple are lacking without making them completely off putting, and pepper their clashes with hints of romantic potential. With only two hours to tell the same story, it appears that the directors felt the need to ramp everything up, including how terrible the male and female lead could be. At times, the arms race in Very Ordinary Couple and the misunderstanding between the couple in My PS Partner was presented as comedy, but it was all too nasty to be funny.
Only: Right. Leaving us with two distinctly unappealing couples whose romantic potential we could care less about.
Junggugeo Kaenada: We were supremely disheartened by the state of Korean popular cinema by the end. I would be very grateful for any suggestions on what we should watch the next time we decide to have a movie night.
Miss Granny is good as is Sunny. Not romcoms though, but good movies.
I think k cinema makes better action/family movies than romcoms in general
Excellent. You’ve just planned our next movie night. Thanks!
Always (2011) with Han Hyo-Joo and So Ji-Sub is lovely (romantic melo not rom com though). Also, I really enjoyed Love 911 (2012) with Han Hyo-Joo and Go Soo (rom com and melo mash-up). A Werewolf Boy (2012) is great too and I second the recommendation for Sunny.
I waited to read this until I posted my Phone Sex Partner review. Ladies, you missed the better bits of the movie. It does pick up in the middle to end of the movie.
I too was surprised how explicit it started out.
LOL on JK”s comment “I couldn’t get past the premise that the random guy that Kim Ah Joong’s character accidentally has phone sex with looks like Ji Sung. It brings to mind those phone chat commercials where attractive, scantily clad women are just waiting on the phone. To speak with you!”
I just read your review, and now, I think I’ll give the movie a second chance. But, only the sexy moments.
Maybe try watching again later in life? I realized after watching it like 5 times that I would have hated it when I was in my twenties. All the things that make me love the characters and identify with them now are things I would have judged them for ten years ago. Like you, I probably would have found them irritating and unromantic. Maybe it should be rated for age 30 and up. It isn’t cynical about love, just honest about how hilarious modern love is (and you didn’t even see the ending! omg! awkward! hilariously, wonderfully awkward!) It’s very romantic, from my pov, but it doesn’t romanticize anything.
And, minor point, the heroine totally masturbates in this movie, just not in that first sequence. That’s our first clue that things aren’t great with her BF of 5 years–even on the phone, she fakes it. I admit I haven’t really liked any of the other Korean rom-com movies I’ve seen. You’re totally right that some things work better on TV than in a movie. You have so much time to get to know the characters on TV. But the reasons you dislike PS Partner might not have anything to do with Korea.
Oh no, I’m making myself think I should go re-watch the romances that annoyed me when I was in my twenties!
Okay, to be fair, I’ll finish watching My PS Partner and let you know what I think when I see it from beginning to end. It’s possible that my impression of the movie will improve.
Also, thanks for the compliment… I had no idea we looked so young. JK and I are both in our 30s. 🙂
Ooo, maybe the more K-dramas I watch, the younger I can look! 🙂 I was first introduced to Asian drama by one of my tenth-grade students, so without evidence to the contrary, I often assume my fellow fans are somewhere just above or below the legal drinking age–the crazy US drinking age. And even if you’re “noonas,” you have broad tastes that don’t scream any particular age.
Re PS Partner, I’m kinda irrational when it comes to Ji Sung–my taste is definitely not the be all and end all! I also haven’t learned how to stop a movie in the middle. I’m going to take inspiration from you and next time I don’t like something I’ll just turn it off. Life’s too short. The Jamie Oliver recipe is awesome, and it almost looks like a Smith Island cake, one of the big specialties here in Maryland. I’ll take this one to a party and tell people I made it with an ancient family recipe.
Over at my site I just gave you a Liebster nomination, which you can feel free to ignore or get wildly excited about, as you like. I know it’s a chain letter and once you’ve blogged for awhile you’ve seen it before. But I wanted to use the opportunity to get in a plug for your site: http://www.koreandrama.today/site-news/liebster-love/ Cause you guys have all the good food.