My Scary Girl

Director:  Son Jae-gon
Year: 2006
Rating: 6.0

Country: Korea

Be a little bit patient with this one. For about the first 30-minutes you feel like you are walking on much too familiar Korean rom-com ground. How many times have we seen the shy tongue-tied male suitor looking desperately for love and stumbling badly over his total social awkwardness? More than I want to know. It gets better.

In this case Dae-woo ((Park Yong-Woo) is an uptight rather dull English Literature professor who feels superior for sticking to his principles of finding a girl that matches him intellectually with an interest in art and books. But this is proving a little hard and at 30 years old he is not only a virgin, never been kissed but never really talked to a woman. Then he bumps into Min-na moving into his building with art books galore and a painting by Mondrian on her wall. His one and only friend in the world (for good reason because he could put a sheep to sleep) convinces him to ask her out to a movie. He does, she accepts and he falls in love – discovers the tongue is good for more than tasting – and she falls in love back. Very sweet - two lost souls find each other - and yet so what. A movie this does not make.

After lulling you into a ho-hum we have seen this before plot, it smacks you across the face with a sauce pan. In a funny way. A Marx Brothers way. It’s only at the 30-minute mark – and you figure something must happen – a terminal illness maybe or she is a North Korean spy – well no - as it takes an enchanting turn into comedic darkness. She isn’t quite who she seems to be - of course we all hide our faults in the bloom of love – but hers happens to revolve around - is there a polite way to say it – murder. All kind of matter of fact murder – but hiding dead bodies in the freezer can lead to complications. Our boy Dae-woo stays completely unaware of all this and yes the finger in the freezer upsets him but this is love damn it all. First love. The best love.

Two very personable performances from these two actors and her oddly charming bitchy and funny roommate (Eun-ji Jo) make what is obviously a ridiculous plot somehow work. You are never quite sure where it will go – not as dark as I would have liked – this is after all a romantic comedy – but you are never quite at ease either. It was made on practically no budget - I mean how much can shovels cost - and neither actors are big stars - mainly TV - but it did quite well at the box-office.