Movie review: Antique

Antique poster
Cake hating chaebol, Jin Hyuk (Joo Ji Hoon) opens up a cake shop. He hires Seon Woo (Kim Jae Wook), the high school classmate he cruelly rejected, now a gifted patissier. They are joined by a former boxing champion and a passive bodyguard. Together, the men whip their largely female clientele into a sugary frenzy.

Junggugeo Kaenada 중국어 캐나다: ★★.5
Only 만: ★★★

Side Dish Try your hand at the Opera Cake by following the recipe at Meilleur du Chef.

Only 만: I was initially drawn to Antique, because it promised hot guys with issues and delicious cake. I knew nothing about K-dramas at the time, but I’d read the manga that it’s based on, “Antique Bakery”, for the same reasons that I watched the movie.

Junggugeo Kaenada 중국어 캐나다: All I knew about Antique was that it was a big box office hit. I was surprised that a movie featuring a character known as the “gay of demonic charm” could have experienced mainstream success. It still mystifies me.

Only: Given what I know about Korean entertainment now, I think it’s safe to say that movies tend to feature things that dramas can’t. Though, the fact that a gay man is one of the main characters, and he’s not asexual, tortured by society, or a comedy character is pretty unusual.

Junggugeo Kaenada: That was definitely a positive of the movie. I also liked how Antique appeared to be carried away on its own sugar rush. Random song and dance numbers à la Busby Berkeley are another unexpected feature for a mainstream movie.

Only: For me, the most enjoyable part, aside from the cake, was the dynamic between the four leads, especially Jin Hyuk (Joo Ji Hoon) and Seon Woo (Kim Jae Wook). There was something about their antagonistic friendship that was highly entertaining.

Junggugeo Kaenada: I watched Antique again recently, because I just finished watching “Mask”, and wanted to see more of Joo Ji Hoon. I got a kick out of watching him, Kim Jae Wook, and Yoo Ah In act ridiculous, now that I know who they are. Otherwise, I can’t say that my opinion of the movie has improved since my first viewing.

Only: Agreed. It was fun watching Yoo Ah In, for example, as former boxer, Ki Bum, when my last impression of him was “Secret Love Affair”. But otherwise, the movie didn’t improve for me. I liked the aforementioned guys and the cake, but the story was all over the place, and it frequently got bogged down in clunky exposition. Plus, it was hard to care about any character other than Jin Hyuk.

Junggugeo Kaenada: I felt the same way, and that was in spite of the fact that they took the time to give us the backstory of every character. No one, not even Jin Hyuk, felt like a real character. It was just a whirlwind of cake and whatever problem popped up at that moment. The movie never calmed down enough to sober up, even at the end when Jin Hyuk’s traumatic past comes to light.

Only: It might have helped if the telling of each character’s back story wasn’t so awkwardly thrown in. I’m not sure I even needed to know Soo Young’s past, for example.

Junggugeo Kaenada: Soo Young and his story felt like an afterthought. There was already an established dynamic between Jin Hyuk, Seon Woo and Ki Bum by the time he entered the story, and frankly, his bumbling meat head added little to the movie. Though, I wasn’t crazy about Yoo Ah In’s character either. It felt like Ki Bum was added to provide the young and cute element in case Jin Hyuk and Seon Woo were too old to appeal to teenage girls.

Only: It’s too bad, because it felt a little like Ki Bum and Soo Young served as distractions from the only interesting characters in the movie, Jin Hyuk and Seon Woo.

Junggugeo Kaenada: If only the director had the courage to simply concentrate on Jin Hyuk and Seon Woo, instead of trying to hedge his bets with two additional side characters and various frantic shenanigans.

Only: Regardless, I would watch this movie again for the eye candy alone.

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