December 6, 2012

Blossom Again: He Broke Her Heart in Three Separate Pieces

I can buy the idea of Joh In-yeong (Kim Jeong-eun), a dissatisfied, confused 30-year-old woman falling in love with Lee-suk (Lee Tae-sung), her 17-year-old, possibly learning-disabled student who looks exactly like her first boyfriend who bizarrely happens to have had the same name. What I don't and won't buy is that there's also a teenaged girl named Joh In-yeong (Jeong Yu-mi) who is also in love with this Lee-suk lookalike who is also the identical twin of a guy named Lee-soo who just happens to be the first love of the younger In-yeong who now also is head over heels for the replacement. Lee-suk is king of the sloppy seconds! It isn't as confusing as it sounds. But it is as preposterous as it sounds. With all the repetitions of an Escher drawing but with none of the complexities, writer-director Jung Ji-woo's exasperating Blossom Again (a.k.a. Close to You a.k.a. Teacher's Pet a.k.a. Wisdom Tooth) is way too forcefully fanciful to be enjoyed as a tragic romance or a time-travel tragedy or a puzzle of perversion or a plain old piece of cinematic art.

When an original, now older Lee-suk (Kim Joon-seong) enters the picture, you're left with no option but to follow the lead of the old In-yeong's still-around boyfriend Jang-woo (Kim Yeong-jae) who can just grin and bear anything. Just how much Jang-woo is willing to smile through is kind of amazing. In-yeong says she still loves her very first boyfriend? Grin and bear it. In-yeong says she's got a crush on her underaged student? Grin and bear it. In-yeong comes home after screwing said student? Grin and bear it. In-yeong says she wants the apartment to herself so she can entertain said student alone Saturday night? Grin and bear it. Although in that last case, the grin is now kind of a grimace and Jang-woo sabotages In-yeong's twisted fantasy by bringing the old Lee-suk over for food and wine. Why Jang-woo loves In-yeong (and why either Lee-suk does too for that matter) is a contrivance that's even less believable than all the endless coincidences. Take another page from Jang-woo's book of behavior and permanently delete this movie from your brain. He used the index finger and thumb. I use the middle finger.

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