July 15, 2012

My Dear Enemy: The Dwindling Returns of Love Lost, Found and Lost Again

How far would you go to get $3,500 back from an old boyfriend who was a total slacker? Would you track him down at the horse track and drive him around all day as he tried to weasel smaller sums of money from a series of questionable sources? That's what Hee-su (Jeon Do-yeon) does and in Lee Yeon-ki's depressing drama My Dear Enemy she's about to pay a very different price.

She's going to have to listen to her ex (Ha Jung-woo) sweet talk and cajole money out of every female acquaintance they meet then suffer through hearing him recount all the sweeter parts of their past, memory by memory. It's painful watching a bitter young woman get sucked in by a scammer all over again but that's really what My Dear Enemy is all about.

For most of the movie, Hee-su looks like a woman deeply in need of barbiturates. She's bitter, morose, and prone to complain. Given that Yeon-ki dumped her over a year ago, her actions come across as confused at best. Who'd go back to a shared favorite restaurant in this scenario? You get the feeling that there's a part of her that's ashamed and so she's out to humiliate herself every step of the way.

If you did start, there are a number of moments in which you likely would have bailed. Like when he brought you to get hundreds of dollars from a prostitute. Or when you ended up drinking beers with his former college roommate who's husband constantly insults her. Hee-su almost backs out. Why doesn't she? I suppose her love is deeper than mine.

And so the day continues, and she's following him now to a biker gangs' rooftop layout where she'll get yet another portion of the owed sum, this time over pork chops and beer served by people in leather jackets. Then it's off to pick up the wayward teen of some of his friends. Then trudging through the rain to get your car back since it's been towed. It really just gets worse and worse!

In it own weird way, I guess My Dear Enemy is a romantic drama to help single people feel better about not being paired off with a cute loser who'd probably land you in debt, pregnant and homeless. Then again, maybe not since by the end Hee-su seems like a heartless bitch who just extorted thousands of dollars from a homeless man. Oh well.

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