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'Tutor' Teaches No-Fun Lesson

2007/04/19 Source

By Kim Tae-jong
Staff Reporter

"My Tutor Friend Lesson II" is being promoted as a sequel to the 2003 hit romantic comedy of the same name. It only follows the basic theme of a boy and girl of the same age that happen to meet as student and tutor, and later fall in love.

New actors are cast in this movie. But ironically little changes. It is a typical high-teen romance with a cast of wacky youngsters _ you can easily guess how things turn out. The only big change is that it is worse than the original.

Directed by Kim Ho-jung-I and Ji Kil-woong, the film is a romantic tale between a Korean man and Japanese woman.

Junko (played by Lee Chung-ah) is a Japanese of Korean ancestry, who falls in love with a Korean student in Japan. As he goes back to Seoul, she decides to visit him.

Junko finally comes to Seoul as an exchange student to the same university as her sweetheart. She finds lodging at a guesthouse that provides room and board.

She dreams of meeting her love and confessing her true feelings for him in Korean, but things turn out to be more challenging than she expected.

Junko discovers that her sweetheart has gone into the army, and the guesthouse is full of wacky boys including Jong-man (by Park Ki-woong), the son of the place's owner.

When Junko wants to leave the guesthouse, Jong-man entices her to stay by lying to her that her sweetheart used to live in her very room. And Jong-man's father offers her private Korean lessons from his son.

The first half of the film attempts to produce fun moments from the cultural differences between Korea and Japan, which are often exaggerated. For example, Junko is shocked by the Korean dining culture, in which people eat the same soup using their own spoon.

The film also exploits the fact that she is under the influence of the mischievous boy. Junko often finds herself in awkward situations when she practices her Korean. Jong-man has taught her mostly slang or inappropriate expressions.

Supporting characters do not help the film. They are too wacky to be part of the story. It is like a short television comedy show is added to the film out of blue, and tragic of all it adds no charm or humor.

As a pathetic effort to produce hilarious moments, the film includes a scene where the main characters sing karaoke with strange performances. It is just like the scenes that we have seen too often in other films such as "My Boss, My Hero" and "Almost Love".

In the later half, the film suddenly turns serious, uncovering Jong-man's secret _ why this talented boxer has stopped boxing and instead spends most of time to earn and save money.

As you can easily expect, Jong-man gets over his agony with the help of Junko. The rest of the film simply follows a generic high school girl's romance storyline.

Though the basic idea is quite appealing, it could have been much more fun had it been developed with a stronger and better-written script. It's a problem that has plagued local films recently.

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