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My Sassy Girl - Director's Cut
   |     review    |     notes     |     awards     |     availability     | "She'"
Cha Tae-hyun gives Jeon Ji-hyun a ride
  AKA: Yupki Girl  
  Year: 2001  
  Director: Kwak Jae-yong  
  Cast: Jeon Ji-hyun, Cha Tae-hyun, Yang Kum-young, Kim Il-woo  
The Skinny: Despite its over-ambitious plot (time travel?), and being somewhat overlong, Kwak Jae-yong's comeback romantic comedy is a resounding success. It might be the perfect "date movie," but then - if you're the guy - you have to pay the consequences.
by LunaSea:
     After years of inactivity, director Kwak Jae-yong returned to Korean Cinema with this box office hit that was popular in both Korea and Hong Kong. His previous works were rather straightforward melodramas, and it seemed like he would disappear from the industry without making too much noise. However, he became inspired by Kim Ho-sik's hugely successful Internet-serial "Yupki Girl", and decided to adapt the story into a film using popstar Cha Tae-hyun and up-and-coming actress Jeon Ji-hyun as the main leads. Explaining what Yupki means is not that easy with a single word. It's a mix of being creepy, funny, trendy, curious and cool. The term has now become popular on the net and amongst young Koreans, which is a pretty telling example of the film's success.
     Kyun-woo (Cha Tae-hyun) is a down-to-earth, charming young student. He's been looking for the right girl for awhile - so much that his aunt has tried to lure him into blind dates a few times. Enter "The Girl," (Jeon Ji-hyun) a nuclear mix of creepiness, good looks and unusual manners. Kyun-woo saves her from certain death when she risks falling on the subway tracks. She repays him calling him "honey," and puking her guts out on a poor man's wig. This is how their relationship begins, which will involve many more methods of psychological - and physical - torture for Kyun-woo to sustain. It turns out The Girl is not your average student: she hates melodrama and TV tearjerkers, would rather wear sneakers than high heels and has a penchant for punching you in the face for no apparent reason. Kyun-woo will bear all her weird charms, and suffer the consequences of such an unusual relationship. He'll also find out there's something more hidden beneath her menacing surface.
     Nothing particularly new occurs here. However, the fluffy and lighthearted script, along with the performances by Jeon and Cha make this an extremely entertaining experience. The film never tries to force laughs out of you, and contains quite a few memorable touches (such as a parody of Wong Kar-wai's Ashes of Time, complete with soundtrack). Being a Kwak Jae-yong film, the last thirty minutes inevitably become fulll-force melodrama, but watching the film a second or third time, you can notice surprising things. The director subtly intertwines subplots underneath the main story (including a family full of twins which will make its presence felt over the course of the film, and time-travel), which stretches the plot even more. Perhaps it's something that wasn't necessarily needed, but it adds to the experience and goads you into watching the film more than once.
     Jeon Ji-hyun - who impressed in Il Mare and, to a lesser extent, White Valentine - deservedly won the Grand Bell Best Actress Award for her role in this film. She's vibrant, creepy, charming and sweet as the role demands. Thanks to this film, she's become one of the most popular actresses in Korea (and after Shim Eun-ha's apparent retirement, she'll probably become the next leading star in the industry). Cha Tae-hyun is effective, considering his "punching bag" role is almost as important as the Girl in making the story credible. The supporting cast adds the icing on the cake with hilarious performances, and the production is not surprisingly top notch. Despite a fall into predictable melodrama in its third act, the film still strongly delivers. (LunaSea 2002)
Notes: • Optioned for US remake by Dreamworks pictures. In 2007, the film began shooting with Elisha Cuthbert and Jesse Bradford starring.
Awards: 22nd Annual Hong Kong Film Awards
Winner - Best Asian Film
Availability: DVD (Korea)
Region 0 NTSC
2-Disc Special Edition
16x9 Anamorphic Widescreen
Korean Language Track
Dolby Digital 5.1
Removable English Captions (also subtitles sounds, actions)
Director's Cut (137 min), Various Extras

  Copyright 2002-2017 Ross Chen