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The Worst Guy Ever
AKA: The Worst Man in My Life

The Worst Guy Ever (KOREA 2007)


DVD (Korea)
Region 3 NTSC
CJ Entertainment
16x9 Anamorphic Widescreen
Korean Language Track
Dolby Digital 5.1
Removable English and Korean subtitles
Various Extras

Year: 2007
Director: Song Hyun-Hee

Kim Soo-Ah

Cast: Tae Hae-Joon, Yeum Jung-Ah, Joon Ji-Min, Sin Sung-Rok, Jo Hee-Bong, Ma Dong-Suk, Shin Hyun-Joon, Kim Sun-Ah, Shin-ee
The Skinny: This Korean "romantic comedy" has an intriguing premise, but despite solid performances by its lead, an underdeveloped screenplay threatens to sink the ship.
Kevin Ma:

     The Korean comedy The Worst Guy Ever asks an interesting theoretical question: What happens after an odd couple from every other romantic comedy ever made fall in love? In this case, we have Sung-Tae (Tak Hae-Joon) and Joo-Yung (Yeum Jung-Ah), two complete opposites who have been feuding best friends for ten years. Instead of concentrating on how the two slowly realize that their feelings for each other are more than platonic, the film skips ahead to their two accidental trips to the hotel bed. Within five minutes of screen time, they're already enjoying martial bliss.
     However, their marriage starts off rather ominously, as their honeymoon is ruined by a rainstorm, and external temptations arrive immediately in the form of Sung-Tae's editor and a newly arrived staff at Joo-Yung's firm. Then the couple begins to discover irritating things about each other. Joo-Yung likes her noodles instant, while Sung-Tae wants someone to cook for him; she likes antique furniture, but he thinks they're a waste of money; she takes card game punishments seriously, but he wants her to let his mother win. The filmmakers even bring out the old "spice things up" gag, where they each fail when trying to turn the other person on. Eventually, they both give in to their respective temptations, and things become a tangled mess.
     A tangled mess may be a good way to describe the screenplay, as obvious and convenient screenwriting devices appear everywhere. While the concept of exploring the aftermath of so-called "happily ever after" romantic comedies is intriguing, the film doesn't even set up why they should be together in the first place. The couple's outside temptations show up early in the proceedings, throwing the main relationship out of balance before the audience has a reason to root for it. So much work is poured into making the relationship fall apart that both characters become outright unlikable.
     But this is still a romantic comedy, so there will be inexplicable fantasy dance sequences ("We're trapped in a warehouse. Let's dance!"), copious sexual innuendo, and even some slapstick physical comedy. First-time director Song Hyun-Hee (who was one of the many writers on Once in a Summer) keeps the film moving with a light comic style, though his method of presenting the two characters' plotlines concurrently is an obvious contrived screenwriter invention. Meanwhile, stars Tak and Yeum have enough chemistry as the feuding couple to help keep the film afloat with their performances. Despite the absurdity of Yeum's "pole dance" sequence, the setup is amusing enough for the gag to be half-successful. However, the effective comic performances don't help endear the characters to the audience, as the characters seem to like bickering too much to actually enjoy each other's company.
     Most successful romantic comedies make their "happily ever after" endings work because the characters are worth rooting for. Also, for the filmmakers to successfully make us feel for the characters by the film's third act, we actually have to like them in the first place. However, these characters spend so much time fighting that it's hard to root for them. If the filmmakers had kept with their plan to turn the romantic comedy formula on its head, then the characterizations are justified because by then we're not supposed to root for the characters anyway. But by the end of the film, the rules of commercial romantic comedies end up dictating matters, so I'm not quite sure what the filmmakers were trying to say anymore. Thematic messages aside, The Worst Guy Ever at least looks like it was a blast to work on, and those familiar with their Korean pop culture can have some fun spotting various cameos throughout. However, I don't get Korean celebrity cameos, and I can't help but wonder whether the film would have been improved in the hands of a more cynical filmmaker. (Kevin Ma 2007)

 Copyright 2002-2017 Ross Chen