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`How to Keep My Love' Doesn't Hold Interest

2004/07/15 | 776 views | Permalink | Source

By Joon Soh
Staff Reporter

Wildly popular as a television actress, Kim Jung-eun has found success on the big screen to be a bit more fickle. Though the actress did star in the biggest film of 2002, "Kamun-ui Yongkwang (Marrying the Mafia)", the sweet and quirky persona Kim made famous on TV dramas has yet to seem as adorable when brought to a full-length feature.

Unfortunately, her new Romantic Comedy "Nae Namja-ui Romance (How to Keep My Love)" doesn't break any molds for the actress. The film takes many of its cues from "Notting Hill", but, along with revising the story, it leaves out the sly humor and banter that made the Julia Roberts/ Hugh Grant romance so appealing.

Instead, "Keep My Love" opts for a typically sentimental take on social class and romance. Kim plays Hyon-ju, a Seoul subway worker who is deeply in love with her boyfriend So-hun (Kim Sang-kyung), a diligent employee of a pest control company.

After seven years together, Hyon-ju is dying to get married. Unfortunately, her laid back boyfriend doesn't seem to be in any hurry. With moral support from her friends, a group of ordinary working folks like herself, she waits with bated breath for their upcoming anniversary when she hopes he will pop the big question.

Things, however, get complicated when the beautiful and famous actress Ta-yong (Oh Seung-hyun) enters the picture. A celebrity who has led a sheltered life, Ta-yong becomes interested in the down-to-earth So-hun after accidentally meeting him in an elevator (an odd scene that has the pest control worker picking cockroaches off her body).

As its title suggests, "Keep My Love" focuses on Hyon-ju as she tries to protect her love from the threat of "the other woman". Her jealousy starts off as cute, but it's not too long before her antics start losing its humorous appeal. And by the end, Hyon-ju's determination to keep her man at all costs seem desperate and, well, a bit pathetic.

More than Kim Jung-eun's other films, "Keep My Love" shares many traits with her TV dramas, in storyline and cinematography. (Incidentally, Kim's current hit drama "Pari-ui Yonin (Paris Lovers)" on SBS is loosely based on another Julia Roberts romance "Pretty Woman".) The film's love triangle, in fact, would have worked much better on television where it would have had time to develop over a number of episodes. Instead, by turning it into a film, "Keep My Love" offers a cinematic experience equal to watching an entire mini-series in one sitting.

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