Marrying the Mafia 

Director:  Jeong Heung-son
Year: 2002
Rating: 7.0

Country: Korea

AKA - Married to the Mafia

This is another Korean romantic comedy and it hits all the right notes being funny from beginning to a wonderful ending. Relentlessly amusing with just the right amount of inevitable romance. In 2001 My Sassy Girl came out to great acclaim and huge popularity and it created an insatiable appetite for films in this genre. Many of them rather flimsy or just plain silly, others quite wonderful. Generally, they are of the mismatched variety that works its way through the phases of love until they arrive at a happy ending. Always rather innocent, lots of smacking faces and drunk scenes. This one would definitely fall into that category. It felt like a sparkling gin fizz.

Dae-so (Jeong Hun-ho) and Jin-kyeong (Jeong-eun Kim) wake up naked in bed next to each other and have no idea how this happened as they have no clue who the other person is (at the end we find out how this came about). This leads to great embarrassment on both their parts but much less so than later in the day when Dae-so is hanging by his feet from a very high building. It turns out Jin-kyeong has three older brothers - she is the princess of the family and he is asked not so nicely to marry her. He is understandingly reluctant - but then they squeeze him a little harder - they are part of a top gangster clan run by their legendary father. Oh shit, he thinks.

This reminds me of a small story in my own life. Very small. Back when I was in my 20's and still able to get girls to go out with me, I went to work in a new department in the bank. There was a very attractive girl working there with the name of S.B. - very wasp name that I won't reveal. A couple times we bumped up against each other in our work life and chatted nicely. Found out she was single and thought why not ask her out. This was way before rules to forbid employee fraternization were put in place. I mentioned this to my friend Al, a slick ladies man who did very well - he gives me a raised eye and then followed by a gulp. Are you sure you want to do that? Ya, I guess so. Why? B. isn't her real name. Her last name is G. - a very well known Mafia family that was in the news quite a bit and not for charity work. Needless to say, I went looking for love elsewhere.

So they are both reluctant but the three brothers who for all of their toughness and beating down people are softies when it comes to their sister and behind the scenes act as cupids to bring these two sweet kids together. There is also a competing gang that intrudes and some big bang ups. All in their own way quite funny. It turned out to be the biggest hit in Korea that year and led to Marrying the Mafia II, though as far as I can tell not really related to this one. Which is a shame because Jeong-eun Kim is downright wonderful. Not really beautiful with tiny black coal eyes that look like cartoon dots, but she manages to be adorable.