"Everything about my Wife" is about Doo-hyun (Lee Sun-kyun), a man who wants to divorce his wife, Jung-in (Im Soo-jung) who he feels has become overbearing. However, he doesn't have the courage to do it himself, so he gets a local Casanova, Sung-ki (Ryoo Seung-yong) to try and seduce her so that she'll want to divorce him. "Everything about my Wife" features three major actors as its leads and has done very well at the local box office. It has all the right basic elements for a crowd-pleaser- three popular lead actors and a very zany plot that gives them a chance to mug for the camera. As far as laughs go, it does not disappoint.
What really makes this movie worth watching, though, is that the actors exude a very real intimacy with each other. I never felt like I was watching mere actors pretending at married life, or even that they genuinely disliked each other on any level. Wait- doesn't that ruin the premise? Not exactly. It's quite clear why Doo-hyun thinks his marriage isn't worth saving, and that he believes Jung-in is making his life a wreck. At the same time, it's equally clear that Jung-in, though agitated and outspoken, is ultimately just trying to do nice things for her husband and is getting ambivalent results because she's way too stressed out.
Enter Sung-ki, perhaps the most compelling Casanova I have ever seen on screen. Normally, this character type is little more than a desirable insertion for men in the audience who think "if only I could sexually attract women this easily!" Sung-ki is not that kind of man. His very presence oozes sensuality- with mixed results. Unlike most Casanovas who flick a switch and suddenly become irresistable, Sung-ki can't turn his sexual magnetism off. In his very first scene, Sung-ki is actually trying to break up with an attractive woman, but his Italian is so salacious and heart-pounding she can't keep her hands off him even in that moment. This is the inevitable outcome of every personal interraction he has, even if it's with men or animals. And yes, seeing him do this on-screen is every bit as funny as it sounds.
These concepts are both very strong, and even individually could have made for very good movies. By pushing these concepts together, though, we get a surprisingly broad glimpse of what we're really looking for in relationships. When you got married, were you expecting that times would always be good? Is your love defined by the surface actions, the ones that might annoy you the most in the moment, or the really emotionally deep moments of serious intimacy, where you say things you would never have the courage to say to anyone else in the world? And what if your relationships were nothing but good times? What happens if you get bored, since for all your orgasms you're still seeing the same basic surface layer of every woman you meet?
Of course, whether you want to read that much into the story is entirely up to you. The jokes are still extremely funny, and the movie is constantly finding new situations for the actors to demonstrate excellent comic timing and overreaction, to the point that the script is nearly an afterthought. It's great stuff both in the romantic and comedy genres- and it's so often rare to find movies that excel in both of these categories without really letting up in the other. The only complaint I can offer is that the ending resolution is relatively abrupt- but since it's pretty much what I was expecting anyway, I can't begrudge the movie too much for making a clean break instead of stretching it out.
* This movie is a remake of the 2008 Argentinian Film "Un Novio Para Mi Mujer". They are similar mainly in concept, however, and have very different executions.
By William Schwartz
Available on DVD from YESASIA
Staff writer. Has been writing articles for HanCinema since 2012, having lived in South Korea since 2011. Started out in Gyeongju, then to Daegu, then to Ansan, then to Yeongju, then to Seoul, lived on the road for HanCinema's travel diaries series in the summer of 2016, and is currently settled in Anyang. Has good tips for utilizing South Korea's public bus system. William Schwartz can be contacted via firstname.lastname@example.org.
"[Guest Review] "Everything about my Wife""
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