Films are highly anticipated for different reasons. Sometimes for the story and sometimes for the actors. In the case of YOU PET (너는 펫) I feel it was completely both. If you’re a fan of most popular contemporary Korean actors then you can’t beat the combination of self proclaimed Asia prince Jang Geun Seok and comedy queen Kim Ha-Neul. On top of that the story is about a man who agrees to be a house pet to a lonely older woman in exchange for free room and board, something that I was definitely curious to see pan out on screen. I recently watched this movie with all of those expectations in tow and so after watching I have a few things to say but first let me give you a little more background.
Kim Ha-Neul plays Lee Ji Eun, a high powered business woman whose had a string of bad luck with men and has decided to give up the opposite sex and get a dog. At this “crucial” moment enters Jang Geun Seok. Jang plays down on his luck ballet dancer Kang In-Ho. He has recently been kicked out of his apartment and desperately needs a place to live for a few months. A friend of his offers to let him take his place as his sister’s live-in housekeeper in exchange for six months rent in advance. When this exchange takes place without her permission she’s determined to get rid of her new roommate by offering him an ultimatum. He can stay if he agrees to be as submissive to her as a house pet. Much to her surprise he agrees and their comical love story ensues.
I didn’t like this film. I think its box office success was completely due to the star power of the cast. I can easily go along with a quirky story line and in fact I prefer one. What I can’t go along with is when the main story line is poorly constructed or when side story lines are left unresolved. This movie also fell into the trap of relying on gimmicks. Yes, Jang Geun Seok can sing but the reason why he has to break out a guitar and bust into song in the middle of the movie is beyond me. As for Kim Ha-Neul, she seemed completely detached from this performance and lacked the comedic energy I’ve seen in her previous films. Maybe this was the result of Kim Byeong Gon being a first time director. While he has production experience, from my stand point it looks like he let too many opinions into the filming process and that resulted in a finished product that felt rushed, patchy and incomplete. I hope any future projects of his are better executed than this one. Feel free to watch it and draw your own conclusions but I can’t help but give this movie a thumbs down.
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