The coming of age story of three 20 year old friends. Chi Ho (Kim Woo Bin) lives off his parents and cheats on his girlfriend. Dong Woo (Lee Jun Ho) stays in high school an extra year, takes part-time jobs, and dreams of becoming a cartoonist. Gyung Jae (Kang Ha Neul) enrols in an economics program in university. Hijinks involving women, alcohol and hard life choices play out.
Junggugeo Kaenada 중국어 캐나다: ★★★.5
Only 만: ★★★.5
Junggugeo Kaenada 중국어 캐나다: We were relaxing on a patio for the first time this year when my significant other mentioned that Twenty was opening in theatres that day. Next thing you know, we abandoned our dates to go to a 10:15 pm screening. We did this, in spite of the anger and disappointment we experienced the last time we watched a Korean movie at the theatre, The Con Artists, coincidentally also starring Kim Woo Bin.
Only 만: We forgive far too easily, obviously. Let me add that neither one of us is a fan of coming-of-age movies, so our expectations were pretty low. And yet, Twenty was a vast improvement over The Con Artists, though far from perfect.
Junggugeo Kaenada: Let me start with the problems I had with Twenty. It was predictable; we have the immature, aimless playboy, the poor, idealistic dreamer, and the good son following what is expected of him. You can see the plot developments coming a mile away, but here’s a spoiler alert: the playboy has his heart broken and finds a dream to pursue, the dreamer looks on the brighter side of taking on a stable and practical career, and the good boy lets loose in a alcohol fueled rage. (end spoiler)
Only: The female characters, with the exception of one, were not even stock characters, serving as little more than props for male fantasies. The only female character I have a strong memory of was So Hee, as portrayed by Lee Yoo Bi; the rest of them were basically interchangeable.
But, Twenty wasn’t a total disaster, by any stretch.
Junggugeo Kaenada: I was surprised how funny I found some scenes in the movie. The climactic scene, in which the cast engages in gang warfare, actually made me laugh until I cried.
I thought Kang Ha Neul, who served as the narrator, did a good job in both the comedic moments as well as the serious ones, though we knew he had this range already based on “Misaeng”. I was less sure about how successful Kim Woo Bin was in his part.
Only: I would say mixed. There were scenes where he nailed the quick delivery, and charm. But, there were a lot of scenes where he was playing his character too broadly. It occasionally jarred me out of the movie, where I’d be wondering at his over-the-top acting rather than caring about his character. That said, when Kim Woo Bin was funny, he was funny.
Junggugeo Kaenada: Unfortunately, I thought Kim Woo Bin was hit and miss on the dramatic parts, too. There was little nuance or layers to the anger that his character feels when he experiences heartbreak repeatedly over a short period of time. However, as you have indicated, I found Kim Woo Bin’s performance satisfactory.
You singled out Lee Yoo Bi for praise, and I will echo that. She makes being a pest very entertaining, and it must be a special skill of hers, because she also managed to come across as charming rather than annoying in “Pinocchio”.
Since he is the third corner of the trifecta, I suppose we should mention Lee Jun Ho’s credible performance. He played Dong Woo straight, and thus, his character was the least ridiculous. It was a complete transformation, because I couldn’t tell that Lee Jun Ho’s day job is singing and dancing sexy as a member of 2PM.
Only: One thing I would add is that the three of them, Kang Ha Neul, Kim Woo Bin and Lee Jun Ho had good comedic chemistry with each other. I found them most entertaining when they were together.
Junggugeo Kaenada: Did you find the ending satisfying?
Only: I did, up to a point. Had they cut it off at a more natural point, I would have liked it more, but the extended scene of the three of them on a hike through the country felt tacked on, as if they had to show the three of them together one more time.
Junggugeo Kaenada: It’s true, I would have liked it if they ended with Kang Ha Neul’s character watching the sunset alone, because it would have been a more somber and realistic representation of growing up.
Only: I don’t think somber and realistic is what they were going for, in the end. Me, I wish they’d left it as a buddy comedy rather than throwing in random romantic storylines, because the male bonding was the best part of the movie. Now, if they could have done some male bonding at a jimjilbang, this movie would have received five stars.