DAYS WITH MR. ARROGANT (2004-KOREA)
review by Seraph
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A fun yet
Further proof that when it comes to fluffy romantic comedy, South Korea is still king. 100 days delights with it's over the top visual style and lovable leads. People looking for art in their cinema should avoid this like the plague But if fun, romance and that warm fuzzy feeling is your bag - it's a winner!
Ha Ji Won (Phone, TV's Damo) overacts winningly as Kang Ha Young, a 17 year old college student with an over the top imagination and a penchant for mischief. Opening via her day dream - a Snow White style montage, we see Ha Young (in costume) patiently waiting for her prince to arrive. A prince who turns out to be less than noble - and ugly to boot. Asking her friends what they think the daydream meant they tell her that she'll soon meet her own prince charming. Yippee! On her way home from college one evening she kicks a can that happens to hit a passing car, which then crashes. Bad idea! The driver of the Lexus 480 is rich college student ‘Young Joon’ (Kim Jae Won). He asks for her to pay for damages but the price is a touch out of the range of her pocket money ($3000). Here’s where the full time premise kicks in: Ha Young will have to agree to be Young Joon’s slave for 100 days. Which means cleaning his apartment, going shopping for him, doing his course work and even pushing his car when it breaks down. He's that much of a git. Cue: wacky situations between the two, much frustration from Ha Young and constant bickering. As the days go on though, each gets a glimpse at the others 'real' self and with the 100 days passing quickly, is Ha Young still hanging around because of her contract or is there more to her relationship with Young Joon than meets the eye? Important question time: do we care?
Well, yes. Credit to Korean filmmakers. I just don't know how they manage to make films, which seem designed only to make you laugh, become so dramatic in their second halves. It's testament too, to the acting prowess of their young actors and actresses. Here, popular heartthrob Kim Jae Won initially looks just that. As the movie progresses though, he comes to show genuine restraint in his performance. Along with decent emotion and charm. Ha Ji Won has already proven herself to be a versatile actress in roles as varied as the Horror movie 'Phone' and the 14 part drama TV series Damo (the lady detective). Here she splits her ability right down the middle. In the first half she seems to be a born comic actress. Exuding expression and spark. Reaching the end of the second act as the inevitable melodrama hits, she turns on the emotion spectacularly. And yes. Tears in the rain do follow.
It's not that 100 days is 100% original. Hell, if you made a checklist of Korean romance film cliché’s you'd likely be able tick everything. Two people share an umbrella in the rain? Check. 360-degree camera movement around characters at dramatic moments. Check. Twist ending. Double check. It's the playfulness of both stars and the director however, which light up the screen. Everyone gives their all and you could not ask for more in film which has no ambition other than to entertain for 90 minutes. Of course if you're looking for the next Old boy – this really is not the place to find it. It's just a simple romance film with a bright script and even brighter performances. Get a tub of ice cream, cozy up in your favorite chair and be prepared to sniffle through the second half.
I rate it 7/10
on this movie on HK Neo Reviews Forum
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Director: Directed by Dong-yeob Shin
Cast: Starring Ha Ji Won and Kim Jae Won
Reviewed by Seraph (PaulJ), September 2005