October 11, 2012

Just Do It!: Accidentally Not Funny

You never learn precisely why the Jeong family has gone broke in Park Dae-yeong's very unfunny comedy Just Do It!, but after watching about fifteen minutes you can assume it isn't a case of bad luck. It's probably just that the Jeongs are morons. A chance accident, that occurs when the drunken dad (An Seok-hwan) leaves a food tent and gets knocked over by a car -- He was standing behind it pissing on its license plate -- also lands the poor patriarch in the hospital where he reaps unexpected cash from a forgotten insurance policy. This sudden influx of money inspires the rest of the family to pursue near-fatal accidents as a way to collect some more dough and quite quickly move their way up in society. No slums for these bums!

Son Dae-cheol (Jeong Jun) taunts some soldiers into beating him senseless at a bar; daughter Jang-mi (Park Jin-hie) breaks her finger in a bowling ball; and mom (Song Wok-suk) strategically topples a tower of boxes holding wine so that she ends up beneath them. Bones are broken, eyes are lost, hips are dislocated. Each misfortune is greeted with glee as the family gains financially. Is it funny? No. Is it clever? No. Is it worth watching? No. Did I watch it to the end anyway? Yes. Why? Well, I just did it. For you, I would say, "Just don't do it."

As stupid comedies go, Just Do It! gets the stupid part right but not the comedy. After the initial setup is exhausted, an insurance agent (Park Sang-myeon) suspects the family of fraud. Rather than mine the yuks from his attempts to catch them hurting themselves, the movie stages a simple piece of poor sexually misleading slapstick that entraps the equally dumb agent into marrying the feather-brained daughter. A completely contrived final act finds the family tracking down a distant relative (Lee Beom-su perhaps at his weirdest) who they plan on murdering so they can collect a million dollars on his policy. For awhile he proves unkillable. But only for awhile. Eventually, the movie mercifully ends. If you want to spend some time staring at your television and not really feeling anything, this is your movie.

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