July 31, 2011

Shotgun Love: Arranged Marriages and Deranged Pregnancies

Here's what I have to say in favor of Shotgun Love. It hits most of the right notes for a well-made melodrama. Here's why that doesn't matter. This isn't a melodrama. It's a romantic comedy. Here's what I like about actor Lim Chang-jung. He isn't afraid of portraying the unlikable aspects of his character, an emotionally underdeveloped infomercial actor who falls head-over-heels for his cold-blooded co-star. Here's what I don't like about him. Just about everything else. Here's what I appreciate about Kim Gyu-ri, the actress who plays the pregnant lingerie model that serves as Lim's love interest. Hmm. Let me get back to you on that one. While I certainly wouldn't go so far as to call Shotgun Love unwatchable, I would say that it's constructed like a comedy without ever managing to become one.

With a subplot involving a gay Elvis impersonator (Park Min-hwan) and a stocky transvestite (Kim Jin-soo) dressed up like Marilyn Monroe, this movie certainly isn't asking anyone to take it overly seriously. Yet while there's outlandish behavior and preposterous role reversals ad infinitum, writer-director Jung Rain approaches his material as if it were a soap opera with a couple of kooks thrown in. Kim Su-mi as a braying mother makes picking hair off the floor with packing tape funny while Lee Ah-rin, as Kim's roommate, constantly looks as though she's about to say something amusing but never does. Ahn Seok-hwan hams it up as the one-eyed food tent-owner but he too never gets a truly good one-liner or a scene that builds up to hilarious slapstick. Which leaves me with a big question mark as to why Jung decided to shape his material as a comedy in the first place. Here's my guess. Sometimes you come up with a funny idea. Then you come up with a number of supporting ideas that are kind of funny. Then when you try to string them together, you get all serious because you're trying to make it work. You lose your sense of humor and that seriousness never leaves you when you're casting the roles and directing the movie. So what started off as a funny bit is now a workmanlike product. In Shotgun Love, the serious idea is this: Shallow people can only discover deeper feelings through personal tragedies. Here's what I think about that. Could someone please make it funny?

No comments:

Post a Comment