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  Foxy Festival  
Foxy Festival

Left to right: Seong Dong-Il, Shim Hye-Jin and Oh Dal-Soo are fetishists in Foxy Festival.
Korean: 페스티발  
  Year: 2010    

Lee Hae-Young


Lee Hae-Young


Shin Ha-Kyun, Uhm Ji-Won, Shim Hye-Jin, Seong Dong-Il, Ryoo Seung-Bum, Baek Jin-Hee, Oh Dal-Soo

The Skinny: Foxy Festival pushes the envelope with its bawdy humor, but ultimately goes nowhere untravelled. Entertaining and fun, though largely superficial.
by Kozo:

Yay for fetishes! Foxy Festival is an entertaining Korean comedy that celebrates the twisted excesses of sexual proclivity, mining such "mature" topics as S&M, cross-dressing, sex toys, real love dolls and penile implants for two-hours of bawdy if not breakthrough laughs. From Lee Hae-Young (co-director of Like a Virgin), the film concentrates on four intertwined "couples" who crisscross comically as each discovers, explores or otherwise confirms their sexual identity. Obnoxious cop Jang-Bae (Shin Ha-Kyun) is madly impressed with his penis size, but starts to have doubts when he catches girlfriend Ji-Soo (Uhm Ji-Won) pleasuring herself with electronic instruments. Ji-Soo is an evening tutor for high school girl Ja-Hye (Baek Jin-Hee), who sells her sweaty panties for profit while reserving her virgin loins for loner food vendor Sang-Doo (Ryoo Seung-Bum). The problem: Sang-Doo has his own fetish and it does not involve precociously randy high schoolers.

Meanwhile, Ja-Hye's high school teacher (Oh Dal-Soo) spies his wife wearing his boxers and soon considers some fair play turnabout via her undergarments. Finally, Ja-Hye's widowed mother Soon-Sim (Shim Hye-Jin) finds herself strangely excited by beefy middle-aged handyman Ki-Bong (Seong Dong-Il). However, what excites Soon-Sim even more is the bullwhip she discovers hanging from Ki-Bong's workshop wall. Will Ja-Hye ever find out about her mother's growing attraction to leather? Will Soon-Sim find out that Ja-Hye sells her own dripping undergarments? And will many characters somehow meet up at the depths of their embarrassment for a large sitcom-worthy gathering of fetish freaks? The answers are yes, yes and of course, yes. Foxy Festival challenges common views on sexuality, so if there's a way to create giggles through taboo-breaking embarrassment, the film will find them.

Lee Hae-Young earns laughs with his taboo-breaking humor, and some of his visual gags are sharp and surprising. However, despite the film's subject matter, Foxy Festival is largely superficial. The humor is derived from watching characters do things most of us “normal” folk never would, and the film never delves too deeply into how this abnormality may affect each person. The characters themselves are pretty easy to relate to, meaning they’re never that twisted or perverse. They’re all into “strange” things, but when the chips are down they’ll do what movie characters usually do, i.e. honor their friends and relationships while usually admitting their faults and discovering their true feelings. This sort of feel-good filmmaking works for mass audiences, but the film suffers in that it strips its situations and emotions of their complexity and depth. Despite reaching for exotic places, Foxy Festival settles on the familiar.

Lee Hae-Young gets brave, egoless performances from his stars, but some are so fiercely committed to their roles that it starts to beggar belief. Shin Ha-Kyun is so convincing as a comically self-centered bastard that it makes zero sense that he would ever grow up and swallow his self-destructive pride. But the film pushes its characters and situations to the absolute limit such that only 180 degree reversals would undo the damage done – and when push comes to shove, Lee seems to eagerly back down. The film's climax is one huge retreat, involving multiple people running towards safe destinies while a super happy pop song blares on the soundtrack. This sort of crowd-pleasing filmmaking is attractive to mass audiences, but it also feels like a cop-out. Still, crowd-pleasing is as crowd-pleasing does, meaning a less critical audience will enjoy this product for its shiny movie packaging while ignoring the cracks at its core. Really, sexual perversion has never been as safe or as giddily attractive as in Foxy Festival. (Kozo, Reviewed at the Udine Far East Film Festival, 2011)


DVD (Korea)
Region 3 NTSC
KD Media
2-DVD Set
16x9 Anamorphic Widescreen
Korean Language Track
Dolby Digital 5.1 / DTS 5.1
Removable English Subtitles
Various Extras

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