July 29, 2011

My Tutor Friend 2: LMAO Not, Because You Can't Learn the Same Thing Twice

I kind of liked the original My Tutor Friend. It didn't matter to me that it was totally formulaic. Or silly-stupid. That lightweight, by-the-book rom-com had modest goals then achieved them effortlessly. Yet when I decided to watch the follow-up My Tutor Friend 2, I didn't expect to see something equally good. I was prepared for the law of dwindling returns. This time, I figured, perhaps a few less laughs, perhaps some recycled gags, perhaps some reused footage. How bad could it be? Answer: Pretty bad. Because My Tutor Friend 2 doesn't even deliver the small, shameful glories of a shameless retread.

Yes, the movie has a tutor but that's pretty much where the similarities end. Gone are the romantic leads. Gone is the central class struggle. Gone are the protagonist's aspirations for a better, more meaningful life. What you get in My Tutor Friend 2 instead is a lovestruck Japanese student (Lee Cheong-a) who goes abroad to stalk a cute guy but ends up finding a sourpuss soulmate (Park Gi-woong), a boxer who all-but-killed his last opponent and now fights with everyone, verbally at least. She doesn't resist being tutored; he doesn't want to teach. How they end up together is that she's renting a room from his dad and he's been coerced by his father into helping her study. Not that he ever teaches her anything useful, just a lot of ghetto speak that alienates her from her teachers and her peers.

Why she ends up falling for him I'm not sure. Maybe the movie's one fantastical sequence which illustrates slang by having characters at a cafe literally "hit" phones, "catch" customers, and "shoot" the bill is supposed to be some sort of shared hallucination that only these two can see... much like the shooting stars they end up catching in their shot glasses one crazy, drunken night. But even that magical night of revelry leads to hangovers not lovemaking. What should've been the great turnaround — a contest for foreign exchange students that comes with a 300,000 won prize — doesn't reveal how his unconventional teaching methods have led to unexpected payoffs so much as it points out his complete nincompoopery and her newfound potty mouth. To use the parlance of the My Tutor Friend 2's foul-mouthed tutee, this movie is "crappy."

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