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  Cyrano Agency  
Cyrano Agency

Lee Min-Jung and Daniel Choi get some direction in Cyrano Agency.
Korean: 시라노;연애조작단  
Year: 2010  
Director: Kim Hyun-Seok  
Producer: Shim Jae-Myung  
Writer: Kim Hyun-Seok  

Uhm Tae-Woong, Lee Min-Jung, Daniel Choi, Park Shin-Hye, Song Bae-Byuk, Park Cheol-Min, Jun A-Min, Kim Ji-Yeong, Ryu Hyeon-Kyeong, Kwon Hae-Ho

The Skinny: Glossy and conspicuously cynical Korean comedy that rides a killer concept to entertaining romcom gold. Despite huge unanswered questions, Cyrano Agency gets the girl and probably your money.  
by Kozo:

The Cyrano Agency is as enjoyable as it is cynical. A glossy Korean romantic comedy about a group of stage actors dedicated to helping people find love (for a price), the film has wit if not charm to spare. Byung Hoon (Uhm Tae-Woong) is the leader of the four-person Cyrano Agency, who recruit customers through referral or other under-the-radar means. Their client indicates their romantic target and then the Cyrano Agency goes to work, using research, surveillance, staged events and elaborate cons to win over the object of their client’s affection. Not surprisingly, the business is a success – that is, until their latest job, which involves Byung Hoon's old flame Hee-Joong (Lee Min-Jung) as the target. Will Byung-Hoon help the handsome client Sang-Yong (Daniel Choi) get the girl, or will he sabotage his own business in the name of love?

Writer-director Kim Hyeon-Seok's film has a terrific concept that's entertainingly carried out. Watching the Cyrano Agency at work is great fun, as they execute and improvise, using specially timed eye contact, rainy evenings (if it's not rainy enough, they'll enhance it artificially), and the all-important missed date among other tricks to fool their marks. The nod to Cyrano de Bergerac notwithstanding, these tactics are fun because they mine common emotional touchstones as well as the universal love of cinema. Cyrano Agency preys upon our familiarity with movie romance, revealing more than a few beloved romantic images for what they are: manipulative clichés with expected reactions. In the opening going, Cyrano Agency is wicked fun, even if the concept is more than a little cynical. Since this business is largely based on deception, you'd think that some sort of revelation or comeuppance would be in order for the Cyrano Agency.

Oddly, that moment never truly happens. The business is almost outed once or twice, but by and large the Cyrano Agency gets away scot-free. Also, they never really question if what they're doing is right or wrong, as the film becomes solely about Byung Hoon's decision to either do his (unethical) job or steal the girl from his client. For a film about love, Cyrano Agency oddly lacks heart, because if it had heart, someone would wake up and realize what a god-awful business this Cyrano Agency stuff is. Well, nobody does and the film remains entertaining throughout, thanks to a stellar production, the attractive actors and, of course, the killer concept. Many audiences love heist or Mission: Impossible-type films, so seeing that sort of action attached to romance makes for commercial cinema gold. In the end, it's to the filmmakers' credit that few question the ethics behind the Cyrano Agency – and that's because the audience is probably too diverted with the slick, witty product on display to mind that much. Korean Cinema, you're one smooth-talking devil. (Kozo, Reviewed at the Udine Far East Film Festival, 2011)

Availability: DVD (Korea)
Region 3 NTSC
16x9 Anamorphic Widescreen
Korean Language Track
Dolby Digital 5.1
Removable English and Korean Subtitles
Various Extras
*Also Available on Blu-ray Disc
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