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[HanCinema's Film Review] "Mood of the Day"


Soo-jeong (played by Moon Chae-won) is a working woman in a ten-year relationship. After some rather ineffective communication Seo-jeong heads off by train for a work trip where she meets Jae-hyeon (played by Yoo Yeon-seok), a man who acts friendly and flirty with every woman he meets. Unluckily for Soo-jeong the train is so crowded that changing seats isn't really practical, so she has to just stolidly endure Jae-hyeon's chatty requests for

So, well, "Mood of the Day" is pretty intrinsically flawed. For all Jae-hyeon's charms, it's honestly really difficult to come up with an overall appraisal of the man any more flattering than "mildly gross". Bizarrely enough, "Mood of the Day" itself acknowledges this when Jae-hyeon actually manages to get pretty close to his goal. Jae-hyeon is the one who puts a stop to the encounter by just asking...uh, no, seriously, why do you think this is a good idea.

One night stands tends to be a pretty bad baseline for romantic comedies, because real life one night stands are completely anathemic to any notion of romance. That's kind of the whole point. It's pretty depressing to read articles about people who try services like Tinder apparently having managed to convince themselves that getting to sex quickly will somehow make for a fast track to romantic satisfaction.

But in "Mood of the Day" we don't even have that level of self awareness. Soo-jeong's long-term boyfriend is such a trifling presence in the story I'm puzzled why writer Min So-yeon felt the need to include that background element at all. That much just makes Soo-jeong look like a woman who would rather cheat than make a better effort to communicate to her partner and that's not an attractive feature at all, you know?

Jae-hyeon is the bigger problem, though, less because of how he treats women and more how he treats Mr. Kang (played by Jo Jae-yun). Jae-hyeon and Mr. Kang are co-workers and allegedly friends, yet for the sake of adventuring with Soo-jeon, Jae-hyeon time and again abandons Mr. Kang to increasingly grotesque fates. At one point Mr. Kang is in serious danger of freezing to death on the street, and director Jo Kyoo-jang treats this like a funny joke. With friends like Jae-hyeon who needs enemies?

"Mood of the Day" is in an especially awkward position because its characters never really rise to the point of being extremely unlikable. They're just sort of unpleasant. I was reminded of "Love Guide for Dumpees", and how even though the leads in that movie often did horrible things, the fact that they owned up to doing horrible things fairly convincingly at least made the characters feel honest.

With "Mood of the Day", the basic material is so weak that Moon Chae-won and Yoo Yeon-seok never really get a chance to be all that convincing. I spent most of the latter portion of "Mood of the Day" impatiently waiting for the story to finish going through the motions because that's all this movie really is- going through the motions. There's no heart or passion, and that's about the worst mistake a romantic comedy can make.

Review by William Schwartz

"Mood of the Day" is directed by Jo Kyoo-jang and features Yoo Yeon-seok and Moon Chae-won

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